Posted by: Mark Nielsen | May 18, 2008

World War II – All New and Shiny Again

Seems World War II is back in the news again. First off, there was an
argument about Hitler and Britain’s Neville Chamberlain – a televised
ten-minute bludgeoning
of conservative pundit Kevin James (no, not the
King of Queens) by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. The Daily Show also did some good coverage of the tiff. Matthews can often be a self-serious blowhard, but he looked smart and sassy challenging James
to name specifically what Chamberlain did to appease Hitler (which
James was unable to do, trading in historically questionable
conservative clichés as he does). For the record — as Matthews
informed him – Chamberlain basically gave away part of Czechoslovakia
to Hitler in 1938 or ’39. “That,” bellowed Matthews, “is what
appeasing looks like, sir. Not trying to simply talk to the leaders of
Iran or Cuba, as Obama has suggested he would do as president.”
Matthews then advised James to stop trying to use facts to make his
case when he didn’t really know what he was talking about. You go,
Chris. Show ’em what you intended when you called your show Hardball.
We have enough wimpy reporters out here.

Remember the Manhattan Project? The first scientific effort to harness
the atomic power of uranium for destructive purposes? The bombs that
led to millions of civilian deaths in Japan? Well it seems the nuclear
waste from that project (which was conducted mostly in New Mexico at
Los Alamos) was shipped to upstate New York and nestled comfortably in
some short-term storage facility. Only they never fixed it up for
safe, long-term storage after  that. And now the civilian neighbors are
complaining. Here’s a quote from the Buffalo area tv news site that put together the report:

Bill Kowalewski (United States Army Corps of Engineers) said, “The interim waste containment cell is functional as designed; it is safe. We’ve identified the nature of the contamination, there’s no imminent health risk to anyone and we’re laying the building blocks for the next step which is for a long term solution.”

The Corps of Engineers? The same guys that New Orleanians trusted to build and maintain good dams? Not sure I want them having the safety of Niagara COunty in their hands, either.
Let’s see… from 1941 to 2008. That’s sixty seven years, guys. Don’t
you think that once it got to be fifty years, that automatically meant
your long-term solution was forty years too late?

Finally, it’s not a World War II reference, technically, but a great 1940s reference
nevertheless: A hilarious sketch/fake phone call last week on Harry
Shearer’s Le Show, using Abbott and Costello’s most famous bit (which I know at least half of from memory ) to
great effect. He used it in a conversation between George Bush Sr. and Junior…Let’s call it ” Hu’s on First?”. They were discussing strategies for
how to press Chinese President Hu, so he would press the Burmese
government to accept more international aid for cyclone victims.
That’s Hu, who apparently said he won’t be dictated to by the same guy
who neglected his own country’s hurricane victims in New Orleans.
Touche’, Mr. Hu! What’s on second?



  1. Good post, Mark.

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