Ohio, home of literal and figurative nuclear corruption

Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 08:34 AM

Ohio seems to have slid further into the 21st century crevice of corruption than most states.  You have the questionable 2004 election.  You have Governor Taft convicted of a crime related to unreported gifts and outings.  You have the "coingate" scandal where state workers' compensation funds were practically handed over to a big Republican fundraiser for "investment" in rare coins that seem to have disappeared.  You have Congressman Bob Ney front and center in the Abramoff scandal.  You have Howard Dean announcing that Ohio is "the center of Republican corruption scandals."

It ain't limited to the political arena, either.  Witness a report from the Toledo Blade about fraud in connection with a nuclear plant.

The nuclear plant story involves two men allegedly deliberately withholding information about the status of a nuclear plant's old reactor head from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, "causing federal regulators to underestimate the amount of danger that existed at the plant along the Lake Erie shoreline near Oak Harbor, Ohio."

According to the Blade story, the reactor head nearly burst open in 2002 because of acid that had been allowed to escape from the reactor and burn a cavity deep into the device's steel lid over a number of years.  Had the reactor head burst, radioactive steam would have formed in the containment building, which would have "put northern Ohio on the brink of a nuclear accident akin to what happened in the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in central Pennsylvania in 1979."

The indictment says that two men "did knowingly and willfully conceal and cover up, and cause to be concealed and covered up" vital information about the old reactor head. It alleges they used "tricks, schemes, and devices" to hide material facts.

Literally nuclear, figuratively nuclear, what the hell, it's all corruption.  All through Ohio.  A state firmly in the hands of that famously "pro business" Republican Party.

Beginning to get the idea of what kind of "business" they're pro?  Monkey business.  Funny business. Back room business.  Fly by night business.  The wink and a nod form of business conducted among like minded felons.  Cooking the books business.

The equivalent of telemarketing scams, except the con men are too lazy to call hundreds or thousands of marks when they can just pick up a single phone and call their local Republican politician.