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2010 May — Why Now?
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Posts from — May 2010

The Short Term Versus The Long Term

Gulf Gusher symbolThe gamblers working the Wall Street casinos have no connection to real life. It doesn’t occur to them that you can’t eat money, and if any of a number of things go wrong, you may not be able to buy food.

During Katrina the people in a high class hotel for a conference found out that their credit cards were just slices of plastic when the electricity and communications are out. If they wanted food and water, they had better be prepared to “loot”.

Over at the Left Coaster Mary found a comment by an investment banker, Weighing Oil vs The Environment. The banker thought the oil was much more important than the health of the Gulf because it was generating billions, while the fishing industry only generated about three-quarters of a billion dollars per year.

According to this banker, if the oil covers my beaches all we have to do is scoop up the oily sand and put new sand in its place. There is no problem.

Mississippi will be fine because people go to their shore for the casinos and the odor is the only problem he can see for them.

He concludes that it is obvious that oil is more important than the environment.

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May 31, 2010   5 Comments

They Just Continue To Lie

Gulf Gusher symbolHere’s the latest from A.B. “Tony” Hayward who said the oil spill was “relatively tiny”, and the environmental impact would be “very very modest.”

According to the Pensacola News Journal BP disputes claims of underwater oil plumes

During a tour of a BP PLC staging area for cleanup workers, CEO Tony Hayward said the company’s sampling showed “no evidence” that oil was suspended in large masses beneath the surface. He didn’t elaborate on how the testing was done.

Hayward said that oil’s natural tendency is to rise to the surface, and any oil found underwater was in the process of working its way up.

“The oil is on the surface,” Hayward said. “There aren’t any plumes.”

However the University of South Florida, the University of Georgia, Southern Mississippi University and other research institutions, using their own independent testing and procedures have stated that the plumes exist.

Anyone interested can see for themselves the video of diving in the Gulf done by ABC’s Good Morning America. The surface is clear but if you swim down the oil is suspended below the surface in drops. When the divers returned to the surface they were covered in oil. This is what the hundreds of thousands of gallons of dispersant do – they weigh it down.

BP knows this, because the guys they have been hiring to do water sampling have been telling them this. One of them was on NPR and showed Melissa Block that the oil droplets settled to the bottom of the bucket.

May 31, 2010   Comments Off on They Just Continue To Lie

They Are Pirates

The BBC reports that there were Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship

More than 10 people have been killed after Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army says.

Armed forces boarded the largest vessel overnight, clashing with some of the 500 people on board.

It happened about 40 miles (64 km) out to sea, in international waters.

If they had done this within the internationally accepted 12-mile limit, they might have a case. If they had hailed the ship during daylight and boarded, they might have a case. When you drop in at night and seize a vessel in international waters, that is piracy.

The latest story is that the people on ship seized weapons from two Israeli commandos and started firing. I’m not joking – they honestly have said that two of Israel’s elite commando force were mugged by hippies. I don’t know about the peace activists, but the Israeli government spin-doctors really need their meds adjusted.

Bibi canceled a White House visit to “deal with the crisis”, rather than the truth “to avoid getting yelled at”. That’s assuming that Raum didn’t call and tell him that this would not be a good time to visit Washington.

This may be the final straw for the Turkish government, Israel’s only true non-enemy in the Mideast. The ship was Turkish.

May 31, 2010   20 Comments

Early Start In The Eastern Pacific

Tropical Storm FlagTropical Storm Agatha formed quickly off the Pacific coast of Guatemala and came ashore on Saturday with 45 mph winds. As with most tropical storms, it was the rain not the wind, as the BBC reports:

A powerful tropical storm in Central America has claimed at least 73 lives in floods and mudslides, officials say.

The worst-hit country was Guatemala, where officials say at least 63 people died. Nine were killed in El Salvador and at least one in Honduras.

Rainfalls greater that 36 inches have been reported in the mountains and many of the roads to remote communities are washed out, so the the death toll is expected to rise when contact is re-established.

Guatemala was already dealing with an eruption of the Pacaya volcano in southern Guatemala which has closed the nation’s largest airport. The ash from the volcano is now a soggy mess.

As expected Agatha is dissipating due to interaction with the mountains.

May 30, 2010   Comments Off on Early Start In The Eastern Pacific

Let’s Get Organized

Rick Outzen visited Alabama’s barrier island and noticed something odd: Prisoners used by BP at Dauphin Island. He notes that the contractor in charge was also a bit off: “The company, SG & S Oil Recovery Product LLC, was formed after the leak. Yet it got this contract.”

A company gets created after the leak and wins a contract while using prison labor. You have to wonder exactly who owns SG & S, and how they managed to get a contract with both BP and Alabama Corrections. The mayor of Dauphin Island wonders why he wasn’t told.

Local officials in Louisiana are no less annoyed with the system – Parish official: BP shipped in workers for president’s visit

Early Friday morning, “a number of buses brought in approximately 300 to 400 workers that had been recruited all week,” Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts told CNN’s “Situation Room.”

Roberts said the workers were offered $12 an hour to come out to the scene at Grand Isle and work.

But, when Obama departed, so did the workers, he said.

Can you say photo op? I was sure you could.

The Times-Picayune notes that Across coastal Louisiana, officials lament ineffective oil spill command structure.

As they report, the local officials on Grand Isle spotted the oil headed their way and tried to get booms and skimmers to deal with it before it came ashore, but couldn’t make it through the maze in time.

Imagine this scenario: You call 911, and instead of an operator asking you what the problem is and sending the appropriate people, you hear: “Press 1 if you need law enforcement…”

May 30, 2010   Comments Off on Let’s Get Organized

Surely You Jest

Gulf Gusher symbolWho thought BP had any credibility prior to its latest disaster? While I don’t expect people to be aware of all of the spills along the Trans-Alaska pipeline caused by BP’s multiple maintenance failures, their botched clean-up of the Exxon Valdez spill and the death of 15 people when their Texas refinery blew up, should have clued people into the fact that BP puts profit before everything. BP is the reason Iran hates the West. This isn’t some new corporate policy shift, it is the way the corporation has always been.

Nonetheless McClatchy writes that Oil spill taking toll on BP’s credibility — and the government’s [I think we are well into negative numbers on both counts.]

WASHINGTON — A litany of half-truths, withholding crucial video, blocking media access to the site and a failure to share timely and complete information about efforts to contain the largest oil spill in U.S. history have created the widespread impression that BP is withholding information about the April 20 oilrig blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, if not misleading the public and the government.

The government has been little better, for weeks blindly accepting BP’s estimates of the size of the spill, all but powerless to force the company to curb its use of toxic chemical dispersants and ignoring warnings from its own officials about possible worker safety violations.

Most damning, say members of Congress, was BP’s failure to release video that would help measure how much oil is being released from the broken well — a number that will be key evidence when federal investigators and perhaps juries consider what damages BP should pay.

As if things weren’t bad enough, you have to wonder how many people know that taxpayers subsidize coal and oil companies? We aren’t just getting slimed down here, our government provided some of the money used to do it.

May 30, 2010   3 Comments

Moving With Cats

funny pictures of cats with captions

Good luck to Badtux.

May 30, 2010   11 Comments

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Memorial DayThis is a picture from one of the columbariums at the Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place of many of those who served the United States since the middle of the 19th century.

That is my Father’s marker. He didn’t know those located around his marker, but they all shared service to their country as part of their life.

My ancestors have been answering the call to service in this country since before it was a country, and various branches have ended during wars. It is a tradition, which means it is neither a good or bad thing, just something that has always been that way.

The country continues to ask for service and people still respond to that call. As you think about the sacrifices represented by Arlington and other cemeteries, ask yourself if you have done what you could to prevent misuse of the willingness of some to serve.

It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

May 30, 2010   6 Comments

Charlie Wields His Mighty Pen

My GuvThe Pensacola News Journal reports on our governor [independent orange running for US Senate] slicing away at the Republican legislature’s budget bill:

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist cut $371 million in spending Friday with line-item vetoes of the $70 billion state budget.

Crist’s actions continued his conflict with lawmakers, particularly Republican leadership. He rejected language prohibiting state funds for human stem-cell research, cut spending on projects he said were inserted into the budget late and wiped away a poison pill lawmakers inserted in an effort to protect a $160 million sweep from a transportation trust fund.

Legislative leadership said they’ll consider a lawsuit to challenge Crist. Crist’s vetoes drew the wrath of Senate President Jeff Atwater, a North Palm Beach Republican running for chief financial officer. He said Crist’s criticisms of college building projects were unfounded in what Atwater characterized as an open budget process.

Ah, yes, the “transparency” of the Florida budgeting process – so transparent that no one knows it is happening. You would think that after Ray Sansom’s problems and the grand jury report the legislature would make an effort to look legitimate for at least the year following, but they still don’t get it.

They stole $160 million from the transportation trust fund, and stealing it was because those funds are designated for transportation projects only, to hide their underfunding of the public schools.

They put together a package worth hundreds of millions of dollars to attract bio tech firms, and then pass this stem cell research ban to pander to their base. Bio tech firms would be insane to relocate to a state that could ban their research at any time because of pandering to religious whackos.

Speaking of the whackos, they still haven’t sent Charlie their latest attempt at messing with women’s health issues. It passed, but they are sure he’s going to veto it, so they are mounting an e-mail campaign to influence his actions.

May 29, 2010   Comments Off on Charlie Wields His Mighty Pen

The Next Idea

Gulf Gusher symbolThe Times-Picayune, one of the last real newspapers in the country, reports that BP says top kill has not stopped Gulf oil leak and now considering other options

A source told The Times-Picayune that officials would announce the failure of the top kill option at a 4 p.m. Saturday briefing in Robert .

BP is expected to announce that it will move on to its next option, known as LMRP. The procedure involves cutting off the failed, leaking riser at the top of the Lower Marine Riser Package on the blowout preventer to get a clean-cut surface on the pipe.

Then the company will install a cap with a sealing grommet that would be connected to a new riser from the Discoverer Enterprise drillship, with the hopes of capturing most of the oil and gas flowing from the well.

So, why wasn’t this one of the first things tried after it was verified that the blowout preventer wasn’t going to work? Why is there no shut off valve mentioned in this new riser?

Once again it would appear that BP is more interested in getting the oil out of this well, than stopping the flow. That oil is eroding the insides of the BOP and the riser with grit, and the longer it flows, the weaker they become. Who really believed [other than Admiral Thad Allen who has been a BP cheerleader since the beginning] that the top kill would work while oil and gas were still flowing out of the well?

May 29, 2010   8 Comments

The Coast Guard-MMS Hearing Continues

Gulf Gusher symbolThe New Orleans Times-Picayune continues to cover the hearing in Kenner, Louisiana on the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon and interesting things were revealed today:

Testimony of Chris Pleasant, Transocean, subsea supervisor:

But about 30 seconds later, with total chaos on the rig, Pleasant decided on his own to hit the emergency button, which would trigger the blowout preventer’s shear rams to close the well and unhitch the rig. It didn’t work.

“It went through the sequence at the panel, but it (the signal to disconnect) never left the panel. I had no hydraulics,” Pleasant recalled.

Testimony of Mark Hafle, BP drilling engineer:

Hafle said he made several changes to casing designs in the last few days before the well blew, including the addition of the two casing liners that weren’t part of the original well design because of problems where the earthen sides of the well were “ballooning.” He also worked with Halliburton engineers to design a plan for sealing the well casings with cement.

John McCarroll from Minerals Management Service, a member of a six-person investigative panel holding hearings in Kenner, couldn’t hold back his opinion that cement failures allowed the well to flow as he questioned Hafle.

“Don’t you think for that size casing, you set up your Halliburton cementer for failure, especially when you had a loss return zone (where drilling mud was seeping into the earth) below the hole?” McCarroll pointedly asked.

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May 28, 2010   Comments Off on The Coast Guard-MMS Hearing Continues

In Local News

A couple of fun items in the Local Puppy Trainer:

Man charged with feeding hot dogs to alligators

PORT ST. LUCIE — Florida wildlife officers have charged a Port St. Lucie man after allegedly watching him feed hot dogs to alligators in his back yard.

The problem is that the ‘gator got a death sentence for what the fool did. They should have “jailed” the ‘gator, i.e. sent it to a zoo, and fed it the fool.

Weather Channel’s Cantore: Oil’s not coming here

PANAMA CITY BEACH — The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore was in town Wednesday with some good news for potential beach-goers.

The oil ain’t coming.

I have been hoping that the oil wouldn’t be coming ashore here, but if Cantore says it won’t be, it’s only a matter of time until the black flood arrives. Cantore is on the Weather Channel’s hurricane team and is known to storm watchers. He still hasn’t figured out that sending him out to stand on beaches in the middle of hurricanes coming ashore is not an indication that his bosses like him.

May 28, 2010   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Stalking The Feral Kitten

Friday Cat Blogging

Can it see us?

[Editor: It is an understatement to say the latest additions are not socialized.]

Friday Ark

May 28, 2010   6 Comments

It’s Not Just The Oil

Gulf Gusher symbolMcClatchy reports on the initial findings on the USGS efforts to determine how much oil is gushing out of the Well from Hell: Runaway gulf oil well spewing far more oil than initially thought

Three groups of researchers, assembled by the government after independent observers viewing BP video of the leaking well openly disputed the 5,000-barrel figure, reached similar conclusions that the well was spewing 12,000 to 25,000 barrels a day — 504,000 to 1.05 million gallons a day.

[Head of the U.S. Geological Survey, Marcia] McNutt said an accurate appraisal of the leak hadn’t been possible until the last two weeks, when a tube inserted into one of the leaking pipes began drawing oil and gas to the surface. That allowed researchers to determine that 75 percent of what they were seeing on video spewing from the broken pipe was natural gas.

“That’s why we’re now now getting better estimates, because we can correct for the gas phase,” she said. Asked whether the spill has eclipsed the Exxon Valdez, McNutt demurred. “This is obviously a very, very significant environmental disaster and I think with the numbers I’ve given you, you can do the math.”

So we are seeing three gallons, by volume, of methane for every gallon of oil. How peachy that its mostly methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times worse that carbon dioxide, but people can’t see it so it’s not a problem, right?

May 27, 2010   Comments Off on It’s Not Just The Oil