2020 Has Achieved Criticality

Plus, inside a decaying nuclear power facility.

Editor’s Note: Due to a scheduling error, this email did not go out on time, as it was scheduled incorrectly.

Readers may recall (and hello to all our new Bulwark+ members!) about me telling folks about getting to write one of my “unicorn” stories a couple weeks back. Something I’d tried to do for two years, go inside a decaying nuclear power plant on an Army base and take pictures of all of the cool bits and bobs before the Army Corps of Engineers makes it disappear forever.

Well, that story was published today (link below.) But with all the talk about RBG, the SCOTUS fight, politics getting overheated, I kept thinking back to nuclear reactors and criticality.

What happens if you don’t properly handle an active nuclear reactor that’s achieved criticality can be very catastrophic. Ideally, there are procedures and control rods in other safeguards (like the scram / A-Zed-5 button) to prevent disaster.

We’re about to find out. Politically. Another version of the “It's not 3 Roentgen, it is 15,000” scene. This is long past the Dyatlov control room scene or seeing or denying there is graphite on the ground.

What happens next? We’re here to help you make sense of that.

Leading The Bulwark

Charity and Medicine Adapting to COVID

Thomas Chiapelas: New kinds of creativity and cooperation have been necessary to bring help to people who need it.

On the Pods…

Tim Miller on the Tyranny of the Minority

Tim Miller joins host Charlie Sykes to discuss the death of RBG, Mitt Romney's SCOTUS announcement, grievance and 2020 voters, and how the tyranny of the minority impacts our politics.

Beg to Differ with Mona Charen: If Trump Loses, Should We Lock Him Up?

Politico’s Tim Alberta joins the BTD panel to talk about changing suburbs, the Middle East breakthrough, Electoral College woes, and perp walking ex-presidents.

The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood with Chris Fenton

This week, Sonny talks to “Feeding the Dragon” author Chris Fenton.

From The Bulwark Aggregator

In Today’s Bulwark

To Counter China, We Must Strengthen Ties with Europe

Shay Khatiri and Dalibor Rohac: America will not have a better friend and ally than the community of democracies on the other side of the Atlantic.

Can Gen Z Save Us? Only with Adult Partners.

Raj Vinnakota: A case for hands-on ‘civic learning.’

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OK, so you’re here for the nuclear pictures. I will hand them over, and one that didn’t make the final cut. Here’s the Scram Button:

I’ve been wanting to write this story since early 2018, and had planned to do it for The Weekly Standard, but the derecho that year cancelled my visit. Fast forward a few months, and I still want to write this story about a dormant nuclear reactor a few miles from my old place in Alexandria, Virginia, and TWS is cancelled.

We start The Bulwark (as we know it), not knowing how long our little concern is going to last. I go to my friend Andrew Beaujon at Washingtonian and ask if I can write it for them. He was kind to entertain my request, but since visits to this site, especially for the press, are not commonplace, a long while (an eternity in politics) went by before I was able to tell him I had the green light to go back. A few weeks back, there was another visit and I was able to make it. Read the full story at Washingtonian here. (And if you’re local and don’t subscribe, please consider doing so.)

How Singapore does COVID contract tracing. Can you imagine the maskholes in the U.S. reacting to this sensible measure? They’d be throwing them into fires like Sean Hannity fans destroyed Keurigs or Nike shoes.

How Attorney General Barr Distorted the Department of Justice. An important podcast from Checks & Balances you may have missed.

Check it out and subscribe. I help put it together each week. So if you like our stuff about legal issues, you’ll like this, too.

Here’s a taste of what to expect:

GAO: Here’s what we need to do on COVID-19 stimulus. I know “timely and concerted actions” aren’t what Congress specializes in these days, but, hey, at least somebody paid by your tax dollars is thinking about it and now what to title their latest senatorial podcast.

How Lindsey Graham changed his mind (yet again!) Apparently the libs were too mean to Brett Kavanaugh and now, well, he’s changed his mind. Seems to me that it’s evident Graham is a big Kirkian. Oh no, not Russell Kirk. Charlie Kirk.

D.C. gets a new, extra area code. Finally, the Swamp has grown to the point where the 202 area code has outgrown its ability to be used. #DRAINTHESWAMP amirite?

I cannot wait to read John Boehner’s new memoir. Seriously, look at this cover:

I love reading memoirs from former chamber leaders. It’s the former hill staffer in me, and I suspect Boehner’s will be among the spiciest and best of the bunch.

Deflation is here? Trump’s $10k autograph, a very Prosperity Gospel Christian Gesture for people in need, is apparently not worth $10k, but $0.

Just like signing Bibles, a bizarre thing to do, the President appears more concerned with self-obsessed photo-friendly gestures than genuinely helping people. Because that involves hard work. Which, governing well and wisely is.

That’s it for me today, thanks for tuning in. You can share this with your friends if you’d like. Especially if they like nuclear reactor pictures. Any questions, concerns, or comments: I’m at swift@thebulwark.com


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