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Unbelievably, in the young, frenzied, “trending” world of craft breweries, a Dallas outfit has hit breathtaking new lows. The Manhattan Project Beer Co. features canned varieties pitifully named Half-life, Necessary Evil, Plutonium-239, Hoppenheimer [Get it?], and Bikini Atoll. Although Oppenheimer and his associates’ effected the 1945 nuclear contamination of Socorro, Catron, Lincoln, Otero, Sierra, Doña Ana, Valencia and Torrance counties in New Mexico at the very least, the gut-punch of calling a supposedly refreshing beverage Bikini Atoll is an affront to mankind on a whole new level.

For twelve tortuous years, through 1958, nuclear weapons were atmospherically detonated over the well-populated American “protectorate” of Marshall Islands in the South Pacific. Although experiencing only 14 percent of America’s above-ground nuclear tests, the islanders were wholloped with 80 percent of our program’s total “yielded” above-ground megatonnage. (We finally dragged that hideously deadly, thermonuclear monster down into the underworld at the Nevada Test Site in 1962.)

On March 1, 1954, the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb experiment “went terribly awry,” as they say — blasting the Marshallese’ exquisite Bikini coral atoll to Kingdom-come and contaminating the entire planet. Within the first second of detonation, its rising mushroom measured fourteen miles across. All were miserably burned on a Japanese fishing boat 80 miles from ground zero. In fact, the blast was a thousand times more forceful than the one at Hiroshima.

So this August, the Marshall Islands Health and Human Services Secretary wrote the Dallas brewpub owner and registered this initial complaint: “Your product makes fun of a horrific situation here in the Marshall Islands — one that I promise you is still ongoing — just to make money for your company!” [The Marshallese are suffering generations of birth defects which I will spare you the gory descriptions of.] But the brewery’s reply was predictable: clueless, insensitive and defensive, with neither apology nor contrition offered.

On a closer nuclear front

The state of Nevada just found out in August that the Department of Energy has clandestinely shipped half a metric ton of plutonium to a “national security site” north of Las Vegas — without the state’s knowledge or consent and lacking all environmental planning and review. The weapons-grade plutonium was mandated by court order to be removed from South Carolina’s Savannah River Site (to anywhere not upstream of Savannah)— before next February.

It appears that Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry abused “Top Secret” classifications to illegally sneak the elemental radionucleide into Nevada. [And that much plutonium, were it in aerosol, could give 25 million humans each a lethal dose.] When caught, Secretary Perry hurriedly pledged to expedite the toxin’s removal from Nevada and promised not to send any more. Which leads me to wonder: which state is next?

And pondering states’ rights

We’ve all heard that several state legislatures have moved lately to curtail abortion access. So it’s notable that a number of states are progressing in exactly the opposite direction. The Maine statehouse this spring approved allowing trained nurse practitioners to perform abortions, expanding the potential number of medical providers practicing this Constitutionally-permitted procedure.

Also last spring, the Nevada state legislature eliminated its previous requirement that abortion-seeking women be counseled on “the physical and emotional implications” of having an abortion. Concurrently, Vermont passed a sweeping re-definition of “fundamental reproductive choice,” and included the “right to choose to or refuse to carry a pregnancy to term.” And ‘tis interesting to note that Vermont’s male Republican governor did not veto that measure.

Fire’s out in Bolivia

Evo Morales, Latin America’s first indigenous president, might just win a fourth term in Bolivia this October — or maybe he won’t. But he certainly won international praise in August for dousing the Amazonian firestorm when it jumped the fence from Brazil into eastern Bolivia. President Morales called up seven aerial firefighting units and mobilized 3,500 soldiers, 450 police personnel, plus volunteers to stop the advance of the flames.

But Evo’s ace-in-the-hole was to lease a massive “supertanker” carrying water equal to 100 regular aerial tank-drops. Once Brazil’s careless conflagration was extinguished in Bolivia, Evo applied to actually purchase that supertanker. He wants it at-the-ready for the next haywire climate-dry day, with desperate arsonist-farmers — egged on by their new, young, fascist president, Jair Bolsonaro — dwelling just over the fence in the Amazon.

Anyway, at the UN, the head of the General Assembly praised Bolivia’s efforts in halting the fires once they’d crossed the line. From the podium, she lauded Morales, who as a boy, herded llamas in the Andean highlands.

And she proclaimed: “I recognize the government of Evo Morales for its mobilization [in firefighting] and helping to promote a regional and global response. The UN General Assembly is always ready to provide support.”

Sources: CNN, Daily Kos, Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press News, Pressherald.com, Stanford University, Telesur, Washington Post