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What Great Timing

Gulf Gusher symbolJust in time to make today complete the St. Petersburg Times is reporting that Oil spill may reach Florida Panhandle beaches by end of week

The latest projections say the Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s leading edge could ooze onto Pensacola’s beaches sometime late this week, marking the spill’s first official landfall in Florida.

Winds that kept the spill 50 or more miles away from the Panhandle for the past six weeks have now shifted and are pushing the oil back toward Florida, said state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Sole. Federal officials have now banned fishing off the tip of the Panhandle, meaning 31 percent of the gulf is now closed to both commercial and recreational fishing.

The oil is arriving just in time for hurricane season. This is also when Florida is supposed to kick off its $25 million advertising extravaganza — financed by BP — touting how clean the Panhandle’s beaches are.

“Obviously if that happens we’ll have to pull the ads and rebrand,” said Gov. Charlie Crist.

Rebrand?!?!?! What the hell is that supposed to mean?! Call ourselves South Alabama? Become the “Land of black sticky beaches”?

This is what we get when we start running government like a business – everything is marketing, a façade. All problems are solved by the correct ad campaign. No need to actually fix anything, or do anything, just tell people it is “morning in America” and they will buy it.

Semaphore WTF

June 1, 2010   13 Comments

No One Cares About Cultural Heritage

Gulf Gusher symbolThe Miami Herald reports on the latest attempt at eliminating Native Americans in this area: Gulf oil spill threatens tribe’s livelihood in Louisiana

POINTE-AUX-CHENES, La. — There is an ages-old expression among the people of southern Louisiana’s Indian bayous. “Pas tout là,” they say with smiles.

“Not all there,” it means.

As in, “not right in the head.”

This is how the Native Americans of Pointe-Aux-Chenes have come to describe one of the guilty parties of the worst oil spill in American history. “Pas tout là,” they say with a grin when asked about BP.

The Indians here have borne the consequences of the work of oil and gas companies for nearly 100 years, but the oil that is now only a short boat ride away has the potential to slam a death nail into this fishing village and the cultural identity of Indians who have populated it for centuries.

And Cajun cuisine is also under threat if you can’t harvest Gulf seafood. Without crayfish, shrimp, red snapper, oysters, etc., it won’t be the real thing.

They way things are going we will be left with red tide and jellyfish, which means you can’t even swim or surf in the Gulf, even where the oil doesn’t come ashore. The Feds have already closed more than a quarter of their waters to fishing, and that includes some of the most sensitive areas of the Gulf – the spawning grounds of many species that spend the majority of their lives in the Atlantic, like the blue fin tuna.

June 1, 2010   6 Comments

Now I’m Concerned

Gulf Gusher symbolThe Times-Picayune has a graphic of BP’s current effort, and I have to say that it looks an awful lot like the funnel I proposed back on April, 30th.

Now I’m wondering where I screwed up, because if BP is doing it, there is probably some basic flaw I missed during the 10-15 minutes it took me to come up with the plan.

Of course, back then, I wanted to install a shut off valve as step two, but after a month of additional sand blasting neither the riser nor the BOP may be in any shape to withstand the pressure of stopping the flow.

June 1, 2010   3 Comments

Billy Bowlegs Festival

Jolly Rogers

In order to generate “local excitement” [sell stuff] the chamber of commerce is once again annoying people with the Billy Bowlegs Festival. This year the unavoidable part runs from Friday, June 4th and finishes up on Monday with a really annoying parade that screws up traffic and sends a lot of noisy people through my neighborhood.

Almost at bad as the Monday traffic jam are the Friday fireworks. I know a lot of people enjoy fireworks, but they probably have not seen what loud noises and flashes of light can do to people and aircraft – I am definitely not a fan. OTOH, with the oil situation this might be only time this year that they can set off fireworks, as it’s done from a barge on the water for safety reasons. At any time the water could be flammable which would cancel the show, if anyone wanted to brave the fumes to watch.

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June 1, 2010   3 Comments

June First

June 1st:

The official start of the hurricane season.

1495 – Friar John Cor records the first known batch of scotch whisky.
1660 – Mary Dyer is hanged in Boston, Massachusetts, for defying a law banning Quakers from the colony. She is considered by some to be the last religious martyr in what would become the United States.
1890 – The United States Census Bureau begins using Herman Hollerith’s tabulating machine to count census returns.
1967 – The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is released.
1980 – The Cable News Network (CNN) begins broadcasting.

1563 – Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, English statesman and spymaster (d. 1612)
1780 – Carl von Clausewitz, Prussian general (d. 1831)
1804 – Mikhail Glinka, Russian composer (d. 1857)

For some reason I didn’t make the list.

June 1, 2010   15 Comments