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2010 May 15 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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The Amount Of Oil Matters

Gulf Gusher symbolThe Pensacola News Journal has an AP article that asks the question: Oil spill size: How much and does it matter?

Consider: if you have a billion gallons of fresh drinking water and more than 5 gallons of benzene is accidentally spilled into it, it isn’t safe to drink, according to the EPA. Among the many things coming out of that well is benzene.

Consider: methane is one of the worst of the greenhouse gases, and that well is venting huge amounts of methane.

In another AP article we hear from President Obama:

President Barack Obama addressed the issue Friday. “I know there have been varying reports over the last few days about how large the leak is,” he said, “but since no one can get down there in person, we know there is a level of uncertainty.”

We have the submersibles and the instruments to accurately measure the flow from that leak, but but BP and, apparently the White House, don’t want people to know how bad it is. The scientists making the new estimates are basing those estimates on video that the White House has had for weeks. Where exactly does he think that video came from – a sound stage?

Then you have this on MSNBC – BP oil chief: Don’t ban deep-water drilling

HAMMOND, La. – BP’s chief executive has spoken out against a ban on deep-water oil exploration following the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Tony Hayward, speaking to BBC radio, said the problems which affected the Apollo 13 moon mission had not resulted in the space program being halted and plane crashes did not stop people flying.

That set mild-mannered university professor Juan Cole off: BP Trashes Apollo Astronauts, Parrots Sarah Palin; Oil Godzilla heads for Coast

I would note that the only thing lost by the Apollo 13 mission was its moon landing. Eleven people died on the Deepwater Horizon and the people around the Gulf of Mexico are losing their livelihoods during a major economic disaster. The goal of the Apollo missions was scientific knowledge; the goal of Gulf drilling is corporate profits.

McClatchy has an article on the Republican response to the Democratic proposal to raise the cap on liability for an oil spill from $75 million to $10 billion. The Republicans want the cap to be set at one year’s profits.

My suggestion is that we act like capitalists and let the market and courts decide by removing the cap altogether. Limiting liability with a cap is handcuffing the “invisible hand”.  I want Hayward and the rest living under bridges and eating at soup kitchens.  I want them to experience the poverty their actions have caused.

May 15, 2010   Comments Off on The Amount Of Oil Matters

Strike Three

Gulf Gusher symbolThey screwed up the blowout preventer, so it didn’t work. [Strike One!]

They made no provision for hydrate formation in their containment vessel. [Strike Two!]

And now McClatchy reports that BP’s latest bid to cap Gulf oil leak fails

MIAMI — BP failed Saturday to thread a mile-long tube into the broken pipe spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but officials said efforts to break up the oil underwater seemed to be working.

The Environmental Protection Agency gave BP the go-ahead on Saturday to use dispersants, chemicals that break the oil into small droplets and keep it from rising to the surface.

“It appears that the application of the subsea dispersant is actually working,” BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said. “The oil in the vicinity of the well is diminished from previous observations.”

Isn’t that peachy. Because of the dispersants the oil doesn’t come to the surface where it can be contained by booms and skimmed off or burnt. it is emulsifying so it can flow under the booms into the wetlands and kill even more fish, and other sea creatures.

May 15, 2010   Comments Off on Strike Three

Good On Ya!

Australia celebrates her success:

Teen sailor Jessica Watson has completed a triumphant return to Sydney, with thousands of people on land and water giving her a hero’s welcome.

After a 210-day journey of a lifetime, the 16-year-old from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has become the youngest person to sail around the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.

Just two days shy of her 17th birthday, Watson sailed her 10-metre yacht Ella’s Pink Lady up Sydney Harbour, the same spot she left from almost seven months ago.

Sailing the southern oceans in a 33-foot boat is a major accomplishment, no matter how old the skipper. You would not feel comfortable being out on the waters of Choctawhatchee Bay in anything much smaller – you can do it, but you will probably end up wet. Handling sail while doing it makes the trip even more “interesting”.

Update from Kryten in comments: Official Jessica Watson Blog

May 15, 2010   13 Comments

Saturday Satire

Enjoy the Jim Morin cartoon in the Miami Herald, and Mark Fiore’s animation at CBS.

I’m getting ready to unleash a major rant about what’s going on off the coast. I’m trying to bring it down from an all out screaming fit about politicians, the media, and corporations, but I’m not having a lot of luck.

May 15, 2010   Comments Off on Saturday Satire