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2010 May 05 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Please Make It Stop!

My Mother has television and has it on when she is crocheting, knitting, etc. Lately when I have been at her house there have been political ads on for the Republican primary for governor of Alabama. They are torture.

There is a guy named Bradley Byrne who is being attacked for voting for strong consumer protection laws, believing in evolution, and not accepting that every word in the Bible is true.

For his part, Byrne claims to have cleaned up Alabama’s two year college system, when the system was cleaned up by a Federal investigation and prosecution while he headed it. I admit that it was remarkable that he hadn’t done anything worthy of an indictment.

Then you have Tim James claiming that “we speak English in Alabama” which is probably a mostly true statement these days, although Alabama was originally a French colony. At least he didn’t claim that Alabamans can read English, which would be a bit more of a problem.

And lets not forget “Judge” Roy Moore and his magic rocks. He is the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who installed the granite Ten Commandments monument in Alabama’s supreme court building, and refused to comply with a court order to remove it. He and they were removed from the building.

Ol’ Roy is running for governor seemingly claiming he is to the right and more righteous than Moses, but I’m waiting for him to part the waters of Mobile Bay.

May 5, 2010   4 Comments

Stamp Out Hunger

The National Association of Letter Carriers’ annual food drive, Stamp Out Hunger, takes place in most areas this Saturday, May 8th. This is a major source for the nation’s food pantries who are having a hard time keeping up with demand.

Fill a bag with non-perishables and leave it by your mail box if you can. If you don’t have a mail box, most post offices will have a collection point.

While the USPS provides some support, this effort is driven by the carriers themselves.

May 5, 2010   3 Comments

What Could Go Wrong…

Gulf Gusher symbolOh, yeah, having Dick Cheney, the recent CEO of Halliburton, in charge of US energy policy, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, taking their lead from the White House, the Minerals Management Service “streamlined” the permitting process for drilling, according to this Washington Post report via CBS: BP Gulf Drilling Got “Rubber Stamp”

(Washingtonpost.com) The Interior Department exempted BP’s calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely.

The decision by the department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP’s lease at Deepwater Horizon a “categorical exclusion” from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 — and BP’s lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions — show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf.

While the MMS assessed the environmental impact of drilling in the central and western Gulf of Mexico on three occasions in 2007 — including a specific evaluation of BP’s Lease 206 at Deepwater Horizon — in each case it played down the prospect of a major blowout.

In one assessment, the agency estimated that “a large oil spill” from a platform would not exceed a total of 1,500 barrels and that a “deepwater spill,” occurring “offshore of the inner Continental shelf,” would not reach the coast. In another assessment, it defined the most likely large spill as totaling 4,600 barrels and forecast that it would largely dissipate within 10 days and would be unlikely to make landfall.

“They never did an analysis that took into account what turns out to be the very real possibility of a serious spill,” said Holly Doremus, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who has reviewed the documents.

According to the Hedgemony’s MMS appointees, there was no point in doing an environmental impact study, because a blowout wasn’t possible. The gusher has been spewing 5,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf every day. The only reason it isn’t worse is because the pipe was crimped when the drilling platform sank.

May 5, 2010   2 Comments

Cinco de Mayo


Wikipedia usually has to “lock” its Cinco de Mayo page. I suspect it may be related to the sudden appearance of sites opposing the celebration of this semi-holiday and others who have a hissy fit about any Mexican holiday being celebrated in the US.

In Mexico Cinco de Mayo or Batalla de Puebla, is only a really big celebration in the state of Puebla, where the battle took place.

The Mexican army won the Batalla de Puebla on May the 5th, 1862, but the French went on to Mexico City in 1863 after receiving reinforcements and installed Emperor Maximilian.

It has the status of St. Patrick’s Day in the US, an excuse to eat different food, and drink different booze, and be obnoxious show an interest in other cultures.

Margaritas, tacos, and the destruction of piñatas, that’s what it is really about, although some people have other interpretations.

May 5, 2010   6 Comments

Don’t PANIC!

While there are tarry blobs of oil coming out of that well, the leading edge of the leak is going to be a iridescent sheen on the water. Some of the oil is red, as is seen in aerial photos of the slick, but the mass of it is milky colored because it has emulsified, like a well-shaken bottle of oil-vinegar salad dressing. The emulsified oil may not look as bad as the black sludge, but it will kill fish by coating their gills and kill you if you drink it, just like the sludge.

Who you gonna call?

  • To report oil on shoreline or request volunteer information: Call (866) 448-5816 or e-mail deepwaterhorizonresponse@hotmail.com.
  • To report oiled wildlife, please call (866) 557-1401 and leave a message. Messages will be checked hourly. Individuals are urged not to attempt to help injured or oiled animals, but to report any sightings to the toll free number.
  • BP has established a claim system that will allow people to begin the process to recover lost income or recoup damage-related expense at (800) 440-0858.

This is like Hurricane Elena in 1985 that cruised parallel to the coast going East, and then reversed course and made another pass towards the West. The waiting was almost as bad as the resulting landfall.

May 5, 2010   10 Comments