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What Can We Do?

The Defense Department thinks we need to develop renewable energy sources and is funding programs to work on the problems.

McClatchy reports that the Pentagon is taking the lead on cutting back on fossil fuels and Danger Room ran a story on the effort in my area: Air Force Debuts Biofuel-Guzzling Warthog.

In addition to the biofuels, the military is using solar-powered water purification systems, and wants to use renewable methods of generating power for its bases. The military sees this as a national security problem – it costs the military hundreds of dollars per gallon to deliver fuel to the forces in Afghanistan to power generators and other equipment.

For almost a decade unit leaders have been requesting solar systems to generate power for small units in remote locations. Even if the systems do nothing other than charge the batteries for equipment, they are valuable. If the military understands the problem, consider how far behind the curve Congress is.

April 21, 2010   4 Comments

Drill, Baby, Drill

The BBC reports on the Oil rig blaze off Louisiana leaves at least 11 missing

US coast guards are searching the Gulf of Mexico for at least 11 oil workers missing after an explosion and fire on a drilling platform.

The rig was still burning hours after the blast on Tuesday night, 52 miles (84km) south-east of the Louisiana port of Venice.

Deepwater Horizon, built in 2001 by South Korea’s Hyundai, is 396ft (120m) long and 256ft (78m) wide, according to the company’s website.

It was working on a part of the block known as the Macondo prospect, in 5,000ft (1.5km) of water.

On its website, Transocean describes itself as the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor, with more than 50 years’ experience “with the highest specification rigs” and 18,000 employees.

This was a drilling rig and they were capping the well off after finding oil when something went terribly wrong. In addition to looking for the 11 missing workers, a company is using a remote controlled submersible to attempt to cap the well head and stop the flow of oil that is fueling the huge fire. There will be a spill that the Coast Guard hopes to contain after the fire is finally out.

Such accidents are rare, but they obviously happen, even when the people involved are experienced and have relatively new equipment. This is one of the reasons people along the Florida coast don’t want drilling operations off their snow-white beaches.

Local people are waiting for the list of names because some of the off-shore workers are from this area.

April 21, 2010   2 Comments

Be Careful Out There

It’s that time of year again, Spring, when the bull alligators thoughts… uh, actually, when bull ‘gators stop thinking with their brains and control is passed to the other end of their spines. MSNBC reports that a ‘gator came to the door of a Volusia County home.

If they pick up the scent of a female, they will head directly for it, no matter what is in their way. They will go through screens and end up in people’s houses when they would normally avoid people whenever possible. You learn to just stay out of their way and don’t expect anything that is even a reasonable facsimile of rational thought from ‘gators at this time of year.

They have a lot in common with college students on Spring Break.

April 21, 2010   6 Comments

This Isn’t Good…

For a given value of good.

McClatchy reports that the Feds have taken Charlie Crist up on his suggestion: FBI, IRS launch probe of Florida GOP’s credit card expenses

The U.S. attorney’s office in Tallahassee, the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service are all involved in the probe, which grew out of the state investigation into former House Speaker Ray Sansom. He was indicted on criminal charges that he stashed $6 million in the state budget for an airplane hangar for a friend and campaign donor.

In the federal case, Sansom and others could be charged with making false statements on their tax returns and tax evasion.

If someone gave you a lot of grief during an arrest or booking, and they had a lot of cash on them [pimps, dealers, etc.], you always had the option of dropping a dime to the IRS. You had to really not like the prep to do this, because the IRS would assume that the wad of green was the individual’s weekly income, check to see what they had paid in taxes [normally nothing], and then put a tax lien on the individual’s life. It was a brutal thing to do to anyone.

The IRS is going to look at the records and if they determine that the charges were for personal, rather than professional expenses, that will be classified as unreported income. A rock hard rule of taxes: never, ever, under-report your income. You can get fined for over estimating your expenses, but you can go to prison for under reporting income.

IRS proceedings are “administrative”, not “judicial”, as in “Rights? You don’t get no stinking rights!” These proceedings are to determine how guilty you are.

April 21, 2010   Comments Off on This Isn’t Good…