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DOE Issues New Rule for Workers: Don’t Put Highly Enriched Uranium in Your Pocket

Following an investigation by its inspector general, the Department of Energy has issued a new rule advising its workers to refrain from putting highly enriched uranium in their pockets.

“After interviewing chemical operators and reviewing revised Y-12 procedures, we confirmed that chemical operators are no longer allowed to place samples in their pockets and must check their pockets before removing their coveralls,” said a report issued by the DOE Office of Inspector General.

The report, released in September, described a safety violation that occured last year at the DOE’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

"We received allegations that special nuclear material (SNM) was not appropriately managed at the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12)," said the IG report. "Specifically, we were informed that on January 22, 2014, highly enriched uranium (HEU) samples were discovered in the pocket of coveralls located on a laundry truck that annunicated an alarm as the truck tried to exit Y-12s Protected Area."


Rare Omura’s whale caught on camera for the first time ever

By Rachel Feltman

One of the most mysterious whales in the ocean has been captured on film for the first time. In fact, the footage comes from the first confirmed observations of the species in the wild.

Omura's whales were long mistaken for another species. Genetic data confirmed their uniqueness in 2003, but all of the information came from dead samples — whale bits left over from Japanese whaling expeditions and carcasses found stranded on shore. Small (between 33 and 38 feet long) and inconspicuous, live whales remained elusive.

In a study published recently in the Royal Society Open Science Journal, researchers report encounters with 44 groups of Omura's whales off the coast of Madagascar. When they first spotted the species in 2011, the marine biologists thought they must be mistaken.

"From the little information on their habitat and range, Omura's whales were not supposed to be in that part of the Indian Ocean," lead researcher Salvatore Cerchio of the New England Aquarium said in a statement.



More evidence that Repub voters are insane: Republicans Trust Carson, Trump Most on Nuc. Weapons

More GOP voters would trust Ben Carson with control of nuclear weapons, followed closely by Donald Trump, than the rest of the party’s presidential primary field, according to Reuters/Ipsos poll.

39% of the people surveyed said they most trusted Carson with nuclear weapons, followed by Donald Trump at 34%; 27% said they trusted Marco Rubio

Reuters/Ipsos poll was taken online Oct. 23-Nov. 2, with a credibility interval of =/- 4.4 ppts


Bernie Sanders Campaign Hires Prominent Immigration Activist to Woo Latino Voters

Bernie Sanders has hired another prominent DREAMer activist to woo more Latino voters.

Erika Andiola, an undocumented immigrant and a longtime immigration activist, is joining the campaign as a Latino outreach strategist for the Southwest region, Fusion reported. Andiola, 28, started her work for the Sanders campaign on Monday.

BuzzFeed's Adrian Carrasquillo was the first to report about Andiola's involvement with Sanders' campaign, quoting three unnamed sources close to the team.

"We are excited to have Erika Andiola on the team," Arturo Carmona, the campaign's Latino outreach director, told Fusion in a statement. "Erika's personal story as a Mexican undocumented woman with an undocumented family and a long history of advocacy for Latinos speaks directly to the campaign's commitment to fight for immigrants, Latinos and working class Americans in every community across the country."

Andiola joins a number of prominent immigration activists in Sanders' campaign, including César Vargas, a 31-year-old undocumented immigrant hailing from Mexico who stood up to New York to permit him to become the state's first undocumented lawyer, Fusion further reported. Carmona, who was hired by the Sanders campaign in October, also has immigrant parents.


Has Elizabeth Warren defeated Wall Street?

NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton recently went on Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" and said she's now prepared to bust up the big banks. If banks make too many risky investments, "they have to know — their shareholders have to know — they will fail."

But Clinton might not have to deliver that message. Neither will Bernie Sanders, who wants to go even further in reining in the banks. Nor will Republicans who are joining in the chorus.

Because under all this heavy pressure from progressives behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Masss.) on the left and populists like Donald Trump on the right — and the weight of new regulation and activist shareholders — Big Wall Street is already shrinking on its own.

The evidence is everywhere.

J.P. Morgan is selling off a chunk of its private equity business. AIG is contemplating breaking into smaller pieces. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are watching trading profits dwindle with no real clue if or when they will ever come back. Giant banks including Wells Fargo will now be required to raise around $120 billion in new capital. General Electric is getting out of the financial services business entirely.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/elizabeth-warren-wall-street-215452#ixzz3qRRFPAr4

Franken gets serious about flipping Senate to Democrats

On a recent October afternoon, Democratic Sen. Al Franken mistakenly ambled toward the Mansfield Room, where the party in control — namely Republicans — meets weekly to hash out strategy.

“I keep thinking we’re in the majority,” the second-term Franken chuckled to a colleague as he changed course to the smaller Lyndon Baines Johnson Room.

Now the comedian turned senator, whose party lost control of the Senate to Republicans last year, is embarking on a yearlong campaign to help Democrats win it back and ensure that Senate races aren’t a forgotten undercard to the presidential contest. And after years of keeping a low profile on Capitol Hill, he’s actually happy to talk about it.

In a rare interview in his Capitol office, the Minnesotan described his most ambitious effort yet to help elect Democrats in his more than six years in Washington. Franken is using his celebrity to help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic candidates, and Democrats are relying on him to play an outsize role, alongside high-profile senators like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, to pick up the five seats the party needs to flip the Senate in 2016.

“The Republicans don’t share our basic values about where economic growth comes from,” Franken said. “I have nothing personally against my Republican colleagues other than their views on how the country works.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/franken-al-senate-2016-215455#ixzz3qRQwCGGO

Tuesday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest



The Issue



Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: General GOP

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1: Inmates running the debate asylum

Military blew $43M on useless gas station

WASHINGTON — U.S. taxpayers footed the bill for a $42 million natural-gas filling station in Afghanistan, a boondoggle that should have cost $500,000 and has virtually no value to average Afghans, the government watchdog for reconstruction in Afghanistan announced Monday.

A Pentagon task force awarded a $3 million contract to build the station in Sheberghan, Afghanistan, but ended up spending $12 million in construction costs and $30 million in "overhead" between 2011 and 2014, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found. Meanwhile, similar gas station was built in neighboring Pakistan cost $500,000.

"It's hard to imagine a more outrageous waste of money than building an alternative fuel station in a war-torn country that costs 8,000% more than it should, and is too dangerous for a watchdog to verify whether it is even operational," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said in a statement. "Perhaps equally outrageous however, is that the Pentagon has apparently shirked its responsibility to fully account for the taxpayer money that's been wasted — an unacceptable lack of transparency that I'll be thoroughly investigating."

The compressed-natural gas station was designed to show the viability of tapping the country's natural gas reserves. But the inspector general determined that Pentagon's Task Force for Stability and Business Operations failed to conduct a feasibility study before launching the project.

If they had, the inspector general noted in his report, the Pentagon would have found that it would have little value for most Afghans. The Pentagon's own contractor stated that conversion to compressed natural gas costs $700 per car in Afghanistan. The average annual income there is $690.

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