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Sierra Club
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet
RAW: Uncooked Truth, Beyond Belief 

Issue #264
August 8, 2008
This Week's Campaign McMeltdown
Josh Dorner

nuclearpowerAfter weeks of mishap after mishap involving campaign stops at the sites of some of America's greatest energy misses, we suggested that McCain might next take his misbegotten road show to Three Mile Island in order to showcase his misguided scheme to build 100 new nuclear power plants. Looks like the campaign took our advice, sort of.

Instead of visiting Three Mile Island nuclear generating station in Pennsylvania -- the site of a notorious 1979 partial meltdown that came just 12 days after the release of the movie The China Syndrome, the campaign visited the Enrico Fermi nuclear generating station in Michigan -- the site of a 1966 partial meltdown that resulted in the coining of the phrase "China Syndrome."

("China Syndrome" refers to the facetious idea of a meltdown so severe that it would melt through the Earth's crust and "go all the way to China.")  

As the Los Angeles Times dryly noted, "the site seemed an odd choice for a campaign event intended to promote the safety of nuclear power." Odder still is the fact that McCain's staff don't appear to use the Google (or common sense) when selecting locales for campaign events. A simple search reveals not only the 1966 accident, but a laundry list of other serious safety problems associated with the plant: After some 4 years of cleanup and repair, the reactor was ready to resume operations in May 1970 -- until a "sodium explosion" occurred, that is. The reactor was eventually mothballed in 1972. A loaded handgun was snuck into the facility in 1999. The site's second reactor experienced a leak in 2005 that caused local outdoor after-school activities to be suspended.  The ill-fated reactor #1 caught fire again, just this past May!

Now, it's not as if the plant's woes went unnoticed by the world at large. In addition to the aforementioned connection to the China Syndrome, a blockbuster that received 4 Oscar nominations, the incident was chronicled in a book entitled "We Almost Lost Detroit."  What's more, a song, also called "We Almost Lost Detroit," was featured prominently on the first No Nukes/Musician United for Safe Energy album -- which built on a series of 5 sold-out concerts at Madison Square Garden and a rally in Battery Park City held in 1979 that attracted over 500,000 people. 

And this particular "McMeltdown," as Keith Olbermann called it, topped off a couple days where, first, McCain amazed onlookers by offering up his old lady as a competitor for a topless (and sometimes bottomless) biker beauty pageant. 

And then even more shocking perhaps was his lecture to Congress to end their vacation and "get to work!" McCain himself, of course, has missed more votes than other senator this Congress, has not voted on anything since April, and missed all 11 key environmental votes last year -- including two make-or-break energy votes, as friends at MoveOn point out in a new ad.

We shall now look forward to the ExxonMcCain ticket's visit to Prince William Sound, just to round out his greatest energy misses summer tour.

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Paid for by the Sierra Club Political Committee, http://www.sierraclub.org/, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
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