Croakin’ on Hudson

Last December, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and other state officials announced that the Indian Point nuclear power plant, 35 miles north of New York City, should be shut down.

They almost spoiled your Christmas.  Giant blinking reindeer, strings of electric bulbs, and amplified Brenda Lee recordings could have been ripped from your power grid, as these plutonium-bashing thugs filed papers citing over 30 reasons why Indian Point should be denied a new 20-year license.  Some of these “reasons” included repeated radioactive leaks and 9/11 Commission reports that al Qaeda has contemplated attacking nuclear plants with aircraft.  Said Governor Spitzer: “We should close Indian Point as soon as there is sufficient replacement power available, and in the interim insist that all environmental, safety and security issues are fully evaluated and addressed. . . .”

In short: “Blah-Blah-Blah, my name is Governor Karen Silkwood and I am a 1970s-throwback, bent on replacing your clean, efficient energy source with inept, hippy-driven solar and wind power that will force you to give up your guiltless consumerism and admit that you co-exist interdependently with the Third World, which has heretofore been enslaved for your benefit.”

If these nuclear over-reactors can shut down Indian Point, they can shut down every nuclear plant in the country!  Then the nuclear arms industry!  Then the oil companies!  Pretty soon you will be bartering your hard-earned iPod for a handful of granola!  Why aren’t you informing yourself, idiot?

Q:  Is it true that nuclear energy produces no greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming?

A:  Fantastically true.  Greenhouse gasses are emitted only when other, fossil fuel-burning power plants are used to mine, refine, and enrich uranium that runs nuclear plants.  But rest assured, your nuclear-powered vegomatic, snow blower, or dialysis machine are totally enviro-friendly!  Except, of course, for the CO2 emissions that arise when coal-burning plants process and transport the fuel spent by running your appliances.  But cheer up: there are no greenhouse gasses emerging from the 1,500 tons of nuclear waste now stored at Indian Point.

Q:  Nuclear waste?  Like the radioactive tritium and strontium-90 that have seeped into the groundwater and reached the Hudson River?  I’ve heard that these wastes are not exactly antioxidants.  In fact, as a mammal, I worry about cancer.

A:  Cancer, schmancer: relax and enjoy the 21st Century, bub.  Just think — when you do get cancer, how will you treat it?  With radiation!  And, in the event of a total meltdown, nuclear radiation can eradicate many embarrassing social problems, such as poverty, racism, and dandruff — for all 20 million people within a 50-mile radius!  It’s also low-carb and fat-free!  Yes, nuclear radiation is bad only when possessed by terrorists like Osama bin Laden or Karen Silkwood.

Q:  Speaking of terrorism, didn’t two of the hijacked planes on September 11 fly over or near Indian Point?  Wouldn’t closing Indian Point be a good way to combat terrorism?  And who is this Karen Silkwood you keep mentioning?

A:  “Closing” sounds so negative.  Real Americans prefer to fight terror the positive way, with xenophobia.  Racial profiling and detaining Arabs, Muslims, and people of color make us feel good about ourselves!  Conversely, Karen Silkwood, whistle-blower at a nuclear plant in Oklahoma, makes us feel just awful.

Q:  Oh, I loved Meryl Streep in that movie!  Ms. Silkwood was no friend of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, yet even the NRC says the Indian Point 2 reactor has the 6th worst safety record of the 103 reactors in the country.  In the event of a nuclear disaster, would there be a way to evacuate all 20 million of us?

A:  No problem.  Just take the A Train to West Fourth Street, change to the uptown F Train to Rockefeller Center, get out and run around screaming and smashing store windows to obtain survival gear, then hop the M-5 bus, clutching your newly acquired German Lugar and cases of Evian Water, back downtown, where you push and bite your way through a panic-stricken mob of 1,655,000 people, until you are able to punch a nun, steal her car, and drive 4.7 miles west into New Jersey, where you sit immobile for 52 minutes on the turnpike, amid thousands of stalled, honking motorists, staring at the sun glowing ever paler in the radioactive haze, then stagger out of your stolen vehicle toward the Paramus Mall, where you consume 8 quarter-pounders with cheese at the McDonalds there.  You can’t miss it!  Unless, of course, you’re forced off the road and die in a mysterious accident, like Karen Silkwood.

Q:  I am a college-educated, middle-class person.  Should I allow my “PC” guilt to prevent me from demanding that Indian Point be closed, knowing that working-class people would lose their jobs?

A:  Absolutely.  Nuclear power plants are owned by caring multinational entities that NEVER lay off workers, unless they’re forced to by privileged, give-peace-a-chance snobs such as yourself.  Besides, it is a scientific fact that working-class people like Homer Simpson and Karen Silkwood are impervious to nuclear radiation.

Q:  I’ve read that Indian Point employees have complained of weak training standards, rigged qualification tests, and forced overtime.  Some even fear retribution if they raise safety concerns.

A:  Give us those people’s names.  We’re going to lay them off.

Q:  Wouldn’t antinuclear activism cut into my social schedule?  Maybe get me on a government list somewhere?

A: Yes.

Q:  Done!  You’ve convinced me how wrong I’ve been about nuclear power!  I’ll never question corporate greed again.

A:  Perfect.  Now, when I snap my fingers, you’ll remember nothing of this.

Q:  Thanks!  I can’t wait to forget about Karen Silkwood.

Street Life of a Mad Activist Susie Day lives in New York City where she writes a humor column for feminist and gay publications. She has also written on U.S. political prisoners and labor issues and thinks her girlfriend, Laura Whitehorn, is hot stuff.  Can’t get enough of Susie?  Read other pieces by Susie Day in MRZine: Susie Day, “Fugitive Offers Reward for Rumsfeld’s Capture” (22 July 2005); “Street Life of a Mad Activist” (28 July 2005); “Waiting for Karl Rove” (9 August 2005); “A Child’s Primer of Intelligent Design” (24 August 2005); “The Flood This Time” (19 September 2005); “Things That Rise Up in the Night: A Howl-oween Treat” (18 October 2005); “President Salutes Anonymous Red-Baiter” (14 November 2005); “Conspicuous Consumption of a Mad Activist” (11 December 2005); “2006: The Year in Horrorscopes” (9 January 2006); “Visiting Herman” (7 February 2006); “Savior Self” (6 March 2006); “Pinko Plague Panics President” (4 April 2006); “Seymour Hersh and the American Brain” (2 May 2006); “Identity, Class, and Bite Me, David Horowitz” (30 May 2006); “Bugging Hillary” (19 June 2006); “Back in the USSA” (24 July 2006); “News from the Back of the Front” (21 August 2006); “Barbie at the Barricades” (20 September 2006); “How to Stay Out of Gitmo” (18 October 2006); “Ted Haggard and the Church of the Down-Low” (13 November 2006); “Police Gun Down Another Rich White Man” (11 December 2006); “Consuming Karl” (6 February 2007); “Anna Nicole Smith Bombs Iran” (6 March 2007); “Peter Pace Porks a Peck of Pinko Perverts” (2 April 2007); “Jesus Christ Weds Pat Robertson” (30 April 2007); “U.S. Troops Out of . . . ME” (30 May 2007); “Killer Lesbians Mauled by Killer Court, Media Wolf Pack” (27 June 2006); “Apartheid Americana” (23 July 2007); “Peace Movement Overthrows Government, Cheney Dies” (20 August 2007); “Honey, I Shrank the Military (Or, Who Put the ‘Pet’ in ‘Petraeus’?)” (21 September 2007); “Poppin’ Fresh Declares Martial Law” (13 November 2007); and “Miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue: Santa Confirmed as FBI Head” (10 December 2007).

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