If you need something else to worry about…

The “Special Inquiry into Counterfeit, Fraudulent, and Suspect Items in Operating Nuclear Power Plants,” by NRC Inspector General Robert Feitel, concluded that “counterfeit, fraudulent, and suspect items” (CFSI) believed to be present in U.S. reactors “present nuclear safety and security concerns that could have serious consequences for nuclear power plant equipment required to perform a safety function.” An inquiry report accompanied the IG’s audit.

The investigation was unable to pinpoint specific safety hazards because of insufficient information reported by reactor operators and collected by the NRC.

Interesting read. Doesn’t inspire confidence in normal government operations. Might help you pick out a new place to live, though.

There are alternatives. Just ask your Congress-critter.

1st Amendment OK’s recording coppers — Suggestions for staying alive!

Recordings of police officers, whether by witnesses to an incident with officers, individuals who are themselves interacting with officers, or by members of the press, are an invaluable tool in the fight for police accountability. Often, it’s the video alone that leads to disciplinary action, firing, or prosecution of an officer.

This blog post provides some practical tips to record the police legally and safely, and explains some of the legal nuances of recording the police.

What to Know When Recording the Police

* You have the right to record police officers exercising their official duties in public.
* Stay calm and courteous.
* Do not interfere with police officers. If you are a bystander, stand at a safe distance from the scene that you are recording.
* You may take photos or record video and/or audio.
* Police officers cannot order you to move because you are recording, but they may order you to move for public safety reasons even if you are recording.
* Police officers may not search your cell phone or other device without a warrant based on probable cause from a judge, even if you are under arrest. Thus, you may refuse a request from an officer to review or delete what you recorded. You also may refuse to unlock your phone or provide your passcode.
* Despite reasonably exercising your First Amendment rights, police may illegally retaliate against you in a number of ways including with arrest, destruction of your device, and bodily harm. We urge you to remain alert and mindful about this possibility.

Don’t expect cops to obey the law or even know or understand the law. That’s a sad thing to have to say; but, it’s the truth. Staying alive … living to fight another day … gets a lot more done than a photo of your body on the front page of a newspaper.

Best Cars for Senior Drivers


No longer a collegiate clown car

So when we decided to poll our editors on their favorite vehicles for senior drivers, we started with safety…Here’s why: Longer life spans often mean people are driving well into old age, and statistics from IIHS back that up. According to IIHS, older drivers now keep their licenses longer and make up a bigger proportion of the population than in the past. That trend is expected to continue as baby boomers age, culminating in some 53 million U.S. citizens reaching age 70 or older by 2030, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This, of course, leads to concerns about traffic safety. While older drivers have lower fatal crash rates than in the past, they still face a greater risk of injury or death due the inevitable increase in fragility that comes with aging…

To have a reasonable number of vehicles from which to choose for this endeavor, we started with model-year 2020 recipients of IIHS Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus awards. These cars must meet stringent safety criteria to qualify. Knowing that many seniors live on a fixed income, we set a price cap of $35,000; that resulted in 30 qualifying vehicles out of more than 70. We then polled our editors, asking them to pick their top five from the list of 30…

The article is smartly analytical, brief in each category. I know I’ll refer to it whenever that vague time comes when we need to think about replacing one or both of our vehicles. We’d like to get rid of the pickup since we only use it 8 or 10 times a year…now we’re both retired. Coming up with a range that includes a trip to the transfer station with bagged household trash every now and then can be a puzzler.

The only distraction – sad at that – only 1 car from a US company made the group of 30…and no further.

Texas residents warned of brain-eating microbe in drinking water

Texas officials have warned residents of some communities near Houston to stop using tap water because it might be tainted with a deadly brain-eating microbe.

The commission issued an advisory warning people not to use tap water for any reason except to flush toilets in Lake Jackson, Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute and Rosenberg.

Those communities are home to about 120,000 people. Also affected are the Dow Chemical works in Freeport, which has 4,200 employees, and the Clemens and Wayne Scott state prison units, which have 2,345 inmates and 655 employees.

Some think that folks in Texas are never surprised when they receive warnings like this.