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May 5, 2012 10:02 PM   Subscribe

What does the biggest donor to the 2012 campaign season really want? The operator. [print link]
posted by lalochezia (24 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Uneven, but a good read overall. The Andrews facility sounds dangerous. I will be happy when someone's space startup makes billions getting paid to shoot radioactive waste into the sun. I won't even be too upset about the lobbying that will necessarily occur.
posted by michaelh at 10:50 PM on May 5, 2012


michaelh: I will be happy when someone's space startup makes billions getting paid to shoot radioactive waste into the sun.

The problem with shooting nuclear waste into the sun is that occasionally a rocket fails and burns up in the atmosphere. I'll leave the consequences of a rocket full of nuclear waste burning up in the atmosphere to your imagination.

I also kind of think it's shortsighted to throw all of those radioactives away, even if they're dangerous. What if we need to rely on breeder reactors once all of the oil and uranium is gone? However, this is far less of a concern than the exploding rocket issue.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:45 PM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


The problem with shooting nuclear waste into the sun is that occasionally a rocket fails and burns up in the atmosphere

So whoever wants to shoot radioactive waste into the sun will have to build a beanstalk as well? Cool!
posted by DreamerFi at 1:18 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also kind of think it's shortsighted to throw all of those radioactives away, even if they're dangerous.

This is a very good and often overlooked point: nuclear waste is valuable, containing tons of artificial isotopes you cannot get anywhere else. We may have no good use for it now, but there's a chance it will come in handy for, say, a cure for cancer or (more likely) the next superweapon. Being able, in principle at least, to get to the stuff if need arises is one of the design concerns in nuclear waste repositories.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:55 AM on May 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Related links if you want to see what The Operator's money actually bought......

WCS site in Andrews. TX (Google Map)
Waste Control Specialists LLC (Corporate website with auto-play video of ribbon cutting)
WCS Begins LLRW Disposal Operations (WCS Press Release 4/27/12 - PDF )
Texas Nears Approval of Multistate Nuclear-Waste Dump (Wall Street Journal - updated 3/27/12)
Radioactive waste dump opens in Texas, environmentalists worried. (Reuters 4/27/12)
Harold Simmons Gave Big to Several GOP Super PACs (OpenSecretsBlog 2/1/12)
MJ Article: The Texas Solution (Mother Jones 8/2001)
The Texas Solution (Website run by public relations firm McDonald PR)

And if you really want some numbers, Harold Simmons Political Campaign Contributions 2012 Election Cycle.

It is not just a Texas thing actually.
posted by lampshade at 2:11 AM on May 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Key line:
Simmons was pro–free market, except when being pro–Harold Simmons required him to be otherwise.
Politically, Simmons is pro-Simmons.
posted by pracowity at 2:45 AM on May 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


“All of us,” Rove told the group, according to an account of the meeting in The Wall Street Journal, “are responsible for the kind of country we have.”

Responsible for how much wealth they can extract and hoard maybe.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:55 AM on May 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks for posting this. So yet again, we get the government and regulations that a rich guy has paid for on our his behalf. Super.
posted by arcticseal at 7:51 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Politically, Simmons is pro-Simmons.

Sadly, this is all of our Texas billionaires and most of the rest of them as far as I can tell.
posted by immlass at 8:06 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


One focused voice will almost always be louder than thousands of voices without direction. The diversity of the Democrats works against them. The failure to support a limited agenda and the desire to fix all the problems leaves those who want a better world without the focus that self interest generates. The Philosopher King begins to sound good when faced with oligarchs able to dominate the debate.
posted by pdxpogo at 8:12 AM on May 6, 2012


pdxpogo:

> The diversity of the Democrats works against them.

There seems to be no more diversity amongst national Democrats than Republicans - particularly now that most of the Progressive wing has been pushed out. And on the Republican side, you have all those Ron Paul supporters, and all those evangelicals...

> The failure to support a limited agenda and the desire to fix all the problems

Examples, please? We've seen a very limited agenda in the last three years or so... It seems like most of the "classic" Democratic issues aren't even on the agenda at all.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:56 AM on May 6, 2012


From the article:

Espousing a bland Chamber of Commerce–style business-friendly conservatism, Simmons described himself as pro-choice, and his philanthropic foundation—administered by a daughter who until recently had an Obama bumper sticker on her car—occasionally funded borderline-liberal social causes, such as legal services for immigrants.

It could be a lot worse.
posted by bukvich at 9:52 AM on May 6, 2012


I remember when he tried to take over Lockheed. At the time the company stock was low, and the company owned a lot of real estate in prime areas. The real estate was actually worth more than the company's stock valuation. So from a purely business point of view it made sense to take it over and then sell off the real estate and take the profit--that's pretty much what happened to Mervyns. He claimed that this was not his intent and even hired former General and Secretary of State Al Haig to be his new CEO.

Fortunately for the thousands of employees of Lockheed, the junk bond market was collapsing, so he had to try to get stockholders to vote for his plan. Lockheed had been giving employees matching Lockheed stock for its 401k plans, so lots of stock was owned by people who would lose their job under Simmons.

Anyway, the company survived, and ended up selling lots of Silicon Valley real estate at the peak of the dot-com boom, so the stockholders were rewarded for not being short-sighted.
posted by eye of newt at 10:06 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]



The problem with shooting nuclear waste into the sun is that occasionally a rocket fails and burns up in the atmosphere.


And...?
posted by Hal Mumkin at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2012




From the article:

Espousing a bland Chamber of Commerce–style business-friendly conservatism, Simmons described himself as pro-choice, and his philanthropic foundation—administered by a daughter who until recently had an Obama bumper sticker on her car—occasionally funded borderline-liberal social causes, such as legal services for immigrants.

It could be a lot worse.


It doesn't matter what he espouses. It matter who he funds, and what they do.
posted by lalochezia at 10:45 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem with shooting nuclear waste into the sun is that occasionally a rocket fails and burns up in the atmosphere. I'll leave the consequences of a rocket full of nuclear waste burning up in the atmosphere to your imagination.

I knew someone would say that as soon as I shut off my computer last night! Obviously an advance in surface-to-space transport and containment would be required.

So whoever wants to shoot radioactive waste into the sun will have to build a beanstalk as well? Cool!

An elevator would resemble a beanstalk.

This is a very good and often overlooked point: nuclear waste is valuable, containing tons of artificial isotopes you cannot get anywhere else. We may have no good use for it now, but there's a chance it will come in handy for, say, a cure for cancer or (more likely) the next superweapon. Being able, in principle at least, to get to the stuff if need arises is one of the design concerns in nuclear waste repositories.

I think the benefits of generating a lot of nuclear power and completely disposing of the waste outweigh the benefits of storing the waste along with the accompanying dangers.
posted by michaelh at 10:58 AM on May 6, 2012


Breeder reactors work. Nothing is cleaner, safer, or more powerful than nuke.
posted by karmiolz at 11:05 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure you'd need to reprocess a lot of the waste to reduce the total mass you send to space. If you're going to do that, why not reprocess it into fuel?
posted by hattifattener at 12:19 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


michaelh, this is obvious to you and me - because we do not ascribe a lot of value to being able to build the next bomb. Governments play a different game, and have a different set of values.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:21 PM on May 6, 2012


“All of us,” Rove told the group, according to an account of the meeting in The Wall Street Journal, “are responsible for the kind of country we have.”

Wow, most guys wouldn't have the balls to take credit for piddling away the US' superpower status.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:10 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem with shooting nuclear waste into the sun is that occasionally a rocket fails and burns up in the atmosphere.

And...?


Well for starters there is a bit of difference between a beta emitter and a beta particle.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:24 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nuclear waste dropped into the oil-emptied salt domes, that have survived unscathed for millions of years of geological activity. Ultimately retrievable by robots and a bucket system, should the isotopes prove valuable later.

Can anyone explain why we aren't doing this?
posted by IAmBroom at 10:25 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


What makes you think we aren't?
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:50 AM on May 7, 2012


Dr Dracator: ignorance, apparently. Whoohoo!
posted by IAmBroom at 10:57 AM on May 7, 2012


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