Monday, May 31, 2010

RIP Gulf Coast

At present no greater act of terrorism could be bestowed on the American people. An act of corporate terrorism that will be remembered long after this well is capped. It has been reported that this was not the greatest leak of oil in the Gulf but one in 1979 by a Mexican government owned oil rig Ixtoc I caused a leak of 126 million gallons. If Deepwater isn't stopped until August then it will surpass the Mexican spill. The other difference is that in the Mexican spill Texas (where the oil came ashore) had three months to prepare and used a continuous army of clean up workers that daily cleaned the beaches. Also in that spill Red Adair was able to slow the spill making clean up easier.

This was a case of manslaughter. Not only of the Gulf Coast but for the 11 who died because someone just had to make a little more profit and put just one more feather in his corporate cap from the very top management to the lowest level manager. This even after workers and engineers told them of the dangers.

The evidence is clear. In the permitting process all assurances were given that a spill was highly unlikely and that all measures and safety procedures were in place. Except they weren't. I question whether government regulators even had the understanding of what they were regulating. The rig was registered in the Marshall Islands know for it's lax regulations. I doubt that the territory has any great knowledge of oil industry standards much like registering an oil tanker in Liberia.
There was the lack of a remote switch and acoustic kill device that are a requirement on Norwegian rigs. There was the pipe (casing) that even though BP engineers said would not be the correct type for this particular rig was still approved anyway. There was the control panel to the BOP that had a dead battery effectively making the unit worthless. There was BP managers overriding the Transocean operators to use sea water rather than drilling mud to get the rig ready. There was the concrete plugs and questions about whether the correct concrete was used. We also know that any tests conducted on the pressures were faked. Schlumberger contracted to do some of the tests either left in discussed or was asked to leave when they wouldn't certify anything. And with all this evidence BP remains arrogant in their positions and public information. First it was "this spill was only 1000 barrels". Then it went to 5000 barrels when even a rough guestimate would put it at three times as much. Even now BP is refusing to let independent scientists get an actual measured amount. And even after four failed attempts to get the flow stopped they insist that they know what they're doing. We've been blocked at every turn not being able to gain access to the live feeds until a member of congress intervened. The video shots you have seen are carefully framed not to show the extent of the damage. Several times the feeds have been cut for no reason during an operation.

This event wasn't the result of some minor mechanical failure or worker error. This was corporate manslaughter plain and simple. Just like Massey Energy (29 dead) did in West Virginia corporate manslaughter is as much a crime as any terrorist act. This day we remember those who have given up their lives for our freedoms but what about those who gave their lives just trying to make a living? What's to fight for only to come home to be kill by a greedy employer?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Well what do you know?

BP must have been reading my blog. They're going to use hydraulic shear to cut the riser pipe. But hey guys don't bother to cut the thing off, just crimp it shut like you should have done before you did the top kill and the junk shot. Christ I'm not even in the oil business and I could figure that out. I think they're still trying to save this well from being abandoned but I know I wouldn't certify it.
Shear stupidity

All I can say is I guess they don't teach critical thinking in school anymore. Only thing they teach is how to rip off customers at everybody's safety and expense.

Keep your drums upright I'll be back later.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

BP nickname contest

Here are but a few nicknames I found on the innertubes:
British Polluters
Bad People
Big Prick
Bill Payers

Care to add your own in the comments? I'll bring them up front later.
Tim and family suggested Blood Pressure and Butt Puckers
Randal's picks (Randal you're weird)
Bandersnatch Prophylactic
Bigamous Proboscis
Burly Portfolio
Brontosaurus Putz
Bronchial Phlegm

In looking for an answer to yesterdays question: What are the pressure limit requirements of the rig casing? I find after much searching that there are none! You heard it here. There are no industry standards as to the strength of the pipe used in oil well drilling. And that was yet another factor in the Deepwater disaster (crime). Come to find out that they used a cheaper pipe that they knew would have problems but did it anyway. Hummm you'd think then the end of this pipe would be fairly easy to crimp off using a robotic jaws of life.

As of 2:30 am they gave up on the junk shot and top kill as it didn't work. That means that they will go to the next option of cutting off the top of the old BOP and installing a new one. They are going to borrow one from one of the two rigs they're using to drill relief wells. Call me stupid but wasn't this declared a national emergency? And in such cases all companies are expected to help out. I know I've done emergency jobs with multiple contractors and you always help wherever you can. If somebody needs a part or a tool you let them have it or make arrangements if it's something expensive.

Last thing, forget the boycotts. The gas stations are independent of the company so all you're doing is hurting local businessmen and besides BP will just sell their gas to another company or country.
Oops one last last thing the weather here is the coldest in the nation. Even Alaska is warmer. And it's raining.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Friday Beaver?

No Thought I'd throw a couple of pussies at you for a change up.

Yesterday's not asked question was about the toxicity of the drilling mud. come to find out that at one time it contained asbestos. (Thanks Tim) The only reason I can think that they would use asbestos would be that it is chemical resistant and would provide increased viscosity.

Today's question being tied to the latter and as well not asked. At least I haven't heard this question asked as of yet would be: What are the pressure limits of the drilling casings (pipes) of the Deepwater drilling rig? I know that it has been reported that the maximum flow rate from the leak is 13,000psi and you would assume that the max would be massively higher as a safety factor. I've scanned the web for an answer with no luck. I bring this up because Bill Nye our notorious science guy has stated that BP will be using some 400 tons of force to try and stop the leak. Much like trying to stop the flow of a fire hose with a bigger fire hose I question the feasibility. As we know as any pressures put inside the pipe are just being blown out the top of the BOP. We see the constant video of the plume hour after hour as yet more and bigger drifting plumes are discovered headed towards shore.

I'll have a bit more later and of course the bank failures.

Update: One of the primary ingredients in the drilling mud is propylene glycol which has been discussed a few times before. It's not super toxic in fact if you read labels you'll find it in cheap ice cream (sorry make mine Bryers) but in digging through the old gray matter I remembered doing a spill of pure propylene glycol. The stuff has unusual properties. It's designed to lower the freezing point. It is after all a type of alcohol. It also very slippery and prevents ice from sticking to the surfaces of aircraft. Now when the complete mixture is used on the oil it has one slight drawback. An absorbent pad will not soak up propylene glycol. I know this for a fact because I tried using the pads. I also found out that the dispersants that BP is using were the exact same ones they used some 20 years ago and they didn't work very well then. So now we have four toxic things in the ocean from this spill. There's the oil the dispersant the oil and dispersant combined ( it just changes oil to a smaller size) and the drilling mud.
Lastly consider that there has never been this amount of a chemical or oil or combination there of in our entire history dumped in the ocean. Entirely new industries may spring up from this because what else can they do?

Bank Failures: Five more banks beat it this week 3 in FL. 1 in CA. and 1 in NV. making 76 so far this year.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

65 miles and counting 100 miles and counting

That was the initial report of the amount of marsh land that has been contaminated with oil so far. BP those bastions of truth beg to differ stating this morning that there was only 38 acres with but a small sheen. But what BP doesn't realize is that there is an army of scientists out there documenting in exact terms the extent of this spill. Just today the good people from the University of South Florida just brought their research boat the Weatherbird II back from the waters of Mobile Bay, Alabama where they finished monitoring an oil plume 3 miles wide by 22 miles long and some 3300 feet deep. Another scientist (sorry didn't catch his name) has been taking samples in the wetlands to determine the extent of the damage and give a record to dispute BPs claims.
Lately BP has been claiming that there is no potential hazard to workers and that levels are well within the EPA guidelines. I find that interesting since the Coast Guard had just ordered all fishermen who had been out there to shore after many of them got sick from exposures. We saw similar illnesses during the European spill some years back. It was 2002 when the single hulled tanker Prestige was carrying 82000 tons of a heavy crude. The ship Liberian registered was inspected in Russia before heading on it's journey. The captain noting that ship was a little less than sea worthy resigned and another captain found. After being turned away from Spain, Portugal and France the ship was headed back south off the coast of Spain when it broke in two spilling a good part of it's load. I remember this because just after it broke apart the oil started washing ashore and a storm was due a day or two after. When the storm hit it blew oily water over the coastal town making most of the residents quite sick.

Now for a question that reporters should be asking but haven't. Exactly what is in the drilling mud they're using to try and stop this leak? From what I've read they're all toxic. Great now in addition to the oil and the toxic dispersants that the EPA told them to stop using, they're adding to the toxic soup with mud that contains barium, glycol and a bunch of other nasty stuff.

What to do? First get the leak stopped then get a couple of supertankers with vacuums as close to shore as possible. As for the marshes they'll have to burn a good part of that and whether they can be rebuild is another story.

The flag graphic is from the Spanish group that cleaned up the Prestige spill, a volunteer group I might add. The translation - Never again.

Keep your drums upright and sealed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BP greed

Watching the BP live feed reminded me of the crane game

Watching BP engineers working on the BOP last night I had wondered if they were going to do a video feed blackout but I guess their PR guys thought better. I watched off and on for a couple of hours while they unbolted a piece from the blow out preventer. I see now why it's taking so long. It took well over an hour for them to unscrew four bolts and remove the piece. I don't think that we'll be seeing any deepwater drilling in the near future but if there is they'll really need some design changes.
It's now been established that what got them into this mess was cutting corners on the process. They were too hasty to get the rig up and running to do the job right. And just how much money would they have saved in the process. Figures I'm hearing were about $6 million a day. Multiply that by 7 to 14 days and you get a max of $84 million. Then you stop to consider what this is going to cost in the long run (in the tens of billions) and that 84 million doesn't sound like a lot. But who has the guts to stand up and say "something is wrong we can not proceed." Because I know what the answer to that would be. "You're going to be responsible for holding up a miltibillion dollar project?"

I've personnely witnessed this corporate attitude before in my own profession. It starts simple enough. Save money and cut costs becomes the mantra. It will work for a while but then at some point you end up with a rogue company that ignores all safety rules because you know safety costs money that could be going to the bottom line. I recall working for one company and noticed that we were picking up workers left and right from another. Then the truth started to come out that the other company was so bad with safety their workers were leaving.
And this is how it really works in corporate America. Upper management puts pressure on middle management for increased productivity and greater profits. Middle management puts the screws to lower management who inturn lays it on the worker. The worker has two options. Either do the job as they were told or get replaced. And when the poop hits the fan it's the worker who takes the blame. Supervisors always lie and demand evidence. In the case of BP it was upper management who told their underlings to go ahead and do the job wrong but you think they'll see the inside of a jail cell?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Is history repeating itself?

PIIGS you say? We don't need wars we have the world stock markets to kill people. What happened? Greece was getting a bailout from the European union and suddenly one of the sheeple got nervous and started pulling credit. Same thing happened in 1929 only on a smaller scale. It happened with people pulling their money out of banks. This time whole countries are doing it. Way to go Bushco! Remember none of the issues that got us into this mess were seriously addressed after our own melt down. Bush merely shoveled a bunch of money at the problem and left it for Obama to try and figure out. The Wall Street game has been going on for two years now. It was "place your bets gentlemen" the taxpayer has just fronted us our next wager. And nothing changed. The same crappy naked shorts, derivatives and toxic loans were being bought and sold after a little repackaging I'm sure. Slap some lipstick on this pig and see who'll fall for it this time around. And I guess they did. Leveraged to the hilt once again hoping that this time around they wouldn't be left holding the bag when the music stopped.

This may be different this time around. I could be wrong but I never really saw any major changes to the way business was being done the last two years other than it's been nearly impossible for small business to get loans to keep operating. So the advice from those that have more technical expertise than me say to get out now while the getting is good. I was smart enough or lucky enough to see what's happening a bit over two years ago. Here's how. You ever have a gut feeling that something is too good to be true? That's the general feel I got back in 06 and 07 when people were flipping houses faster than burgers at McDonalds. I kept hearing how people were going to make a ton of money on the house they just bought. Once they vacuumed and cleaned the windows it would be worth another $25 grand. That was the tip off for me. Never in my life did I witness such a gold rush in the housing market. When I heard even pizza delivery guys were getting into the mortgage business I knew the end was near.
A friendly piece of advice. Don't buy gold. You can't eat gold when everything's hit bottom.

Crash alert!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday mixed nuts

North Korea shakes it's fist at South Korea after sinking one of it's war ships. Isn't that like the bully threatening to hit you again after he just punched you in the stomach? I'm not too concerned about North Korea because they went to China a couple of weeks ago and asked China for financial help but were turned down. So Kim Jong huffed off back to North Korea in a snit. Sorry Kim China helped you in the past, you wouldn't take their advice but you had no problem taking their money.

The oil just keeps gushing in the Gulf as the worlds largest spill continues. BP keeps fiddle farting around. Hey guys you've had a month to come up with a solution. I could think of a dozen ways by now. My guess would be that they're trying to figure out a way to save this well without further damage to their bottom line. If you want to keep up on the latest with live video pop over to fellow blogger's place Monkeyfister I'm sure he's shaking his monkey fist at them.

You'll note that the unemployment numbers went down last week. The reason? Not that there was any great increase in hiring. It's that people's unemployment ran out. When that happens you're no longer counted as being unemployed. You are now a non person. I remember seeing photos of the bread lines of the last Great Depression and noticing that a lot of the guys in three piece suits and was told that many were from Wall Street. Well it looks like they figured out a way to cover their own asses this time around now doesn't it? Oh terror of terrors we had to give up the vacation house on Cape Cod and switch to domestic wines.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Life just gets weirder or the logic of Rand Palin

"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,'" he said in an interview Friday with ABC's "Good Morning America." "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."
Paul isn't the first politician to criticize the government's handling of the oil spill, but few have dared defend BP in the aftermath of last months' explosion at the offshore rig that killed 11 workers and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
So by his logic your kids can play with lead toys and asbestos and he's fine with that. Wouldn't want to stifle Chinese business now would we? I suggest you don't have any eye surgery from this guy as should he make a mistake then you're on your own. Cause you know accidents happen according to him.

In another statement Paul said:
he abhors racial discrimination, but suggested the federal government shouldn't have the power to force restaurants to serve minorities if the business owners don't want to. Does this mean we can refuse service to republicans too? Dusting off your "Whites only signs" are we Rand?

A big hat tip to the notorious Watertiger for her wonderful photoshop skills. See I even gave ya a plug.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Friday Beaver Time

There's just too much stupid going on in this country to report on at the moment so with that I leave you with the bank failures.

Only one bank failure this week so far one in MN.

Adding insult to injury

Just looked up Corexit 9500. That's the dispersant they're spraying on the BP oil leak in the Gulf. Here's the exposure limits for workers:
Oil Mist TWA: 5 mg/m3
STEL: 10 mg/m3

Propylene Glycol
Oil Mist TWA: 5 mg/m3
STEL: 10 mg/m3

What the hell does this mean you might ask? Here's a quick lesson. ACGIH is the industrial hygenist standards for worker exposures to a chemical. They tend to be more strick than OSHA standards.
TWA = Time weighted average or an 8 hour period that worker would be exposed to a chemical.
STEL = Short term exposure limit or a 30 minute sample of exposure at the peak of a work activity.
5 mg/m3 = 5 milligrams per cubic meter of air.
Five milligrams is a fairly low amount in terms of a hazardous chemical. But remember this is in the form of a mist. You could make a mist of lemon juice and have just as damaging an effect. But this stuff also contains petroleum distillates not something I would use because one it's more toxic for both the worker (remember they're dropping this from planes) and two the environment. There's no indications of tests on animals or the damage it would do to them. Plus I'm sure there are cheaper less toxic substitutes.

That's all I have for now. The beavers and bank report later...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bye bye Louisiana coastline

After a month of spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico the crude oil finally made its' way to the Louisiana marsh lands. An area where fish spawn and costal birds nest. It's an area that also protects the cities against hurricanes by providing a buffer against high winds and tides. Many groups had spent thousands of hours trying to rebuild that area by planting mangrove trees which can survive in salt water. Oil for them is another story.
BP is planning to do a "top kill" which should be ready by Sunday. That is shooting mud at the leaking pipe to stop the flow then covering that with cement. Good luck with that one. I've heard estimates of the pressure coming out of that pipe. First BP said it was something in the neighborhood of 1400 psi. Yesterday they said it was more like 13,000 psi. I've dealt with hydrolic lines that were 3600 psi. Not something you want to be around when they fail.
To date some 6 million gallons have leaked into the Gulf. If they can't get the flow rate slowed then at that rate there'll be 18 million gallons by the time they get the relief wells finished in August. I'm sure at that point it will take an effort of all the oil companies foreign and domestic to put a dent in this problem because when the oil hits that Gulf current it can travel as far as Britain killing a good chunk of the fish and other marine life in the process. Oh and something I forgot about. When the oil gets lifted into the atmosphere by the process of natural evaporation you get a nice oily rain. That happened during that European spill some years back.

My suggestion in all this would be to get a bunch of oil tankers some vacuum rigs and a whole lot of oil water seperators and have at it. What they're doing now is nothing more than trying to blot up a swimming pool with a cotton ball.

Keep your drums upright and your pipes covered.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grandpa Walnuts better watch out

Specter looses in Pa while Paul wins in Ky. Look for Johnny to swing yet further right as the campaign continues. Just how far right can you go?
You think it's about time to impose an age limit? Either that or lower their medical care. Probably the only reason they keep running. At $100 per month health care premiums wouldn't you?

BP exec Tony Haywood predicts oil spill damage to be "modest". Yeah right pal. Can I buy a short on that?

Speaking of shorts Germany is going to ban some shorts. We should have done that a long time ago. What's a short? It's betting that an investment will fail or go down in price. Kind of like buying insurance only you don't have to own the investment product you're insuring. Think of it like heading to the local nursing home and being able to insure the patients even if you aren't related.

Funny how with all this oil leaking into the gulf and the price of oil is now going down. That never happened in the past. In the past when there was any type of interuption or event oil would jump in price. I guess the speculators are running for cover. But the next bubble? That would be gold. There's no good reason gold should be as high as it is. People aren't running out to buy rings or jewlery and manufacturers aren't using tons of it in their processes. And if you're thinking of selling watch out. There's enough scams out there. Remember you heard it here first.

Still waiting for the state to work out the weatherization program. I heard while I was taking my weatherization supervisor course that they added yet another 6 billion dollars to the program. That makes $21 billion and not a dime has made it to the local level.

Keep your drums upright...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Somebody needs to crack some heads

There's a rig even larger than Deepwater about 150 miles south of New Orleans called Atlantis and from initial reports could dwarf the current spill by many more millions of gallons.
Here's my prospective from the work I've done in hazardous waste over the last many years. An environmental technician either industrial hygenist or other certified tech goes to the site to do an assessment of the work to be done checking for all the nasties that a worker may come into contact. An estimator determines the work to be done and the manner it's to be done by state and federal laws and regulations. The supervisor studies the estimators reports and makes a work plan and estimates material and manpower needed. He's also responsible for all the safety issues, monitoring the hazardous materials to make sure neither his workers nor the public is exposed to the hazards. It's really important that the supervisor keep track of process and any changes that might occur for worker safety. The amount of documents that must be filed would fill an entire drawer of a filing cabinet. All of this must be maintained on a daily basis so that in the event of an accident there is documentation that may be reviewed in court.

With all of this in mind when an inspector, state or federal, comes to a job site the first thing that's looked at is the paperwork. If that is not in order or missing then the entire site is investigated for violations. Or at least that's the way it's supposed to work. Not so with BP. There was missing documentation. If they are so "anal" about having all their paperwork in order as one person in the article mentioned then why was it missing? I've done jobs where there was three to four copies of daily reports required and if something wasn't filed at the right time then work stopped. BP seems to think that they can just make up the rules as they go along. When they don't like a rule they just ignore it then stonewall the issue. And that's not hard when you have the regulators in your pocket.

So where do we go with this situation? In my opinion we really don't need to change the rules just add one or two and enforce the ones we have. I see the head of Mining and Mineral Safety just resigned today. That's a good start.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Arnold has a plan to slash the state budget

But if you're poor elderly or disabled watch out. Who needs death panels now when we have the terminator. California is faced with a multi billion dollar budget deficit. Schwarzenegger refuses to raise taxes to cover the shortfalls. Instead he'll just lay the burden on those that can't fight back. What a girly man you are Arnold. If he has his way there'll be no home healthcare for the elderly. Funding for daycare for the working poor gone and the entire welfare to work program would be eliminated. Nothing like beating up your grandmother eh Arnold. Why not tell her to pull herself up by her own bootstraps?

Why is California facing this crisis? It goes back to when Raygoon was the governor. He got it into his greasy head that all taxes are bad, the government shouldn't help anybody except corporations who don't need it and basically an attitude of I've got mine the hell with you. And even now is as typical for a republican he wants to shift costs from the state to the cities. That's a tactic that Bush did with much of the federal budget dumping it on the states with unfunded mandates. Sorry guys there's too much information to fact check what you're doing. Everytime you put a bill or proposal out there we can see what you're doing and you can't turn around and lie about it because it's there in black and white for all to read. So go beat up your own grandmother if you want but leave the poor,elderly and disabled alone ya bully.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beaver Friday

It boggles the mind what's going on in the background with the oil companies and the government agencies that regulate them. This is what isn't being reported in the MSM. Take for example how these companies are set up just to avoid taxes and regulations. Transocean for example states that their headquarters are in Zug, Switzerland yet they only have 13 employees there while the other 1300 are in Huston, Texas. The oil rig itself is registered in the Marshall Islands and therefore supposed to be covered by their laws and regs but of course their oversight is slim to none. The rig was inspected by no one. Haliburton has its' headquarters in Dubai while BP operates out of the Cayman Islands. And here's the part that even MSNBC didn't report. Not one of these companies pays a nickel in taxes. How's that? Here's the way it works. With their headquarters in a foreign country the company reports that they pay taxes to the U.S. When reporting to the U.S. they simply say that they pay taxes to the foreign country. Nobody seems to want to check this and since they don't then it's easy to slide this under the radar.

Then there's the Department of the Interior that has been in bed literally with the oil companies they're supposed to be overseeing. Remember these are still the cronies from the Bush administration.

And now for the real kicker as if this wasn't bad enough. Several new permits were just issued last week for (wait for it) deepwater offshore drilling.

A quick update on that Upper Branch mine where 29 miners were killed. Looks like a criminal investigation has been ordered. Sadly it will only be some low level workers who will see the inside of a jail cell and not the mine owner who should have been there a long time ago. I only wish we could have a little Chinese justice here. When one of their greedy guys screws up and gets caught he looses his head literally.

Keep your drums upright. The bank report later.

Update: Almost forgot again 4 more banks hit the skids in MI MO GA and IL. I need to research a bit. I think we're getting close to surpassing the savings and loan debockle.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mixed nuts Thursday

President Obama goes to Buffalo for Buffalo wings. I'm just glad he didn't go to Humptulips.

As I figured BP fudged the blowout preventer tests. No state or federal inspector was there to verify that the tests were done properly according to a whistle blower. How'd they do it? Simple, instead of running the test for the required five minutes they ran it at 30 seconds then penned in to make it look like it was done for five.

So here we go chasing the Talaban and Al Qaeda all around the middle east. Got news for ya I just had an infestation of ants. I'd clean and spray one area and the ants would just move to where I wasn't. Sound familiar? At least I don't have to spend hundreds of billions getting rid of these guys.

And like zombies the Cavs fade into the sunset. So kitty doesn't have to worry because these bumbling stumbling zombies can't hurt you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The next shoe to drop

In my neighborhood there's three places in foreclosure and one upside down and about ready to walk away from it. Which got me to thinking about commercial properties so I did a little research.

I was looking around the area at all the business that has gone out. It's strange in a way. Some places had been around for years while some places were just built in the last two years and sit there empty never having been leased. There's a 76 story office building in Seattle that's about 40% leased and now in default. There was a time when the Seattle skyline was filled with construction cranes. Now building lots are empty and plentiful. In researching all this, which was no easy task. I find commercial real estate is like the onion similar to the residential mortgages. They did the same thing. Bundled good and bad commercial loans into packages that were sold everywhere. You may recall them touting REITs (real estate investment trusts) some years back as a great investment. I considered such an investment for about two seconds and since they're nearly impossible to understand without some kind of real estate background I thought otherwise. I knew the residential loans were a joke when they offered 125% loan to value and interest only loans. What's in store for commercial loans the coming years?

Defaults expected

The financial side contains even greater risk. Fitch Ratings said it expects defaults to surpass 11 percent this year on commercial mortgage-backed securities. If that sounds like the kind of "innovation" that mushroomed the housing bust into a financial panic, it is. We just don't know the full exposure or interconnectedness of these derivatives. Or whether, as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke once put it, the damage can be "contained."
(reported by Jon Talton Seattle Times)

Lastly there's 1.4 billion in commercial loans and about 1/2 are upside down which as everyone knows means that they own more than what the buildings are worth. And like it or not the taxpayer is going to get stuck with the bill. That's because of the bad paper that was sold to other banks bringing them to bankruptcy. The FDIC took possession of this paper when a bank folds effectively laying the burden on us the taxpayer. And I suspect that that is the reason congress won't separate the banks from from the investment firms because if they did they effectively kill the whole company in the process. Because as we all know they're still selling derivatives like junkies that need just one more fix.

Thanks for the links Oso but they didn't help there was only residential foreclosures on those sites.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Britain Has No Balls!

Ed Balls will not be head of British government. They've installed David Cameron of the Conservative Party. To me it looks like the three stooges running the country. Darn no Balls to joke about and I was so ready. I'm not totally up on my British politics but Nick Clegg brokering a deal, I think this would be like Pelosi and DeMint forming a coalition government. Yea that would get far wouldn't it?

Then there was that circular firing squad of BP Transocean and Haliburton. If ever there was a display of the three stooges doing the Shaggy defense this would be it. Next we'll hear the Twinky defense I'm sure. They blamed everybody but their mothers and grandparents for this disaster but maybe they're saving that defense for later. Maybe we could just borrow Mr. Balls from Britain because we sure need some in this situation. Here you have regulators who won't regulate (remember these fine people were caught just a few years ago having wild orgies with some BP reps). Oh, and remember that these were the Bush flunkies who said everything was just peachy because you know when Cheney makes energy policy with the oil companies behind closed doors with nothing recorded then it must be okay. You have companies that won't take responsibility for their actions and expect to dump the whole thing on the taxpayer. Great, I should start a large corp. and get to keep all the profits with no risk of loss. And not one of these clowns will land up in jail you just know it because that's the way things work.

Sometimes the stories just write themselves.

Indian mystic claims not to eat or drink anything for 70 Years. If he's older than 70 then we know what he's full of.

'Zombie satellite' threatens other craft. I'll leave that one to the Randal of Graves. Sounds like it's right up his alley.

Michelle Obama has recomendations on childhood obesity. I've got a solution. Send all the obese kids over to Africa and bring their starving kids here for a while. Problem solved!

Earth near the tipping point. And it looks like we're giving her a big shove if you ask me.

Lastly there's the British elections, a comedian's dream. Why you might ask? Because the guy who may land up at 10 Downing Street is named Ed Balls. I leave you to write your own jokes on that one. There's just too many.

Later and keep your drums upright.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I see where this is going

Today BP met with several of the state attorneys generals of southern states affected by the oil spill. Assurances were given by the company that they would pay any damages over the $75 million that was originally announced and paperwork to that effect was signed.

NOT SO FAST SAYS I! What does BP do while all this is going on? They go shopping for a sympathetic judge to hear the case. Where do they pick? If you guessed Huston, Texas home of big oil give yourself a lone star. Now their plan is to make all suits against them a class action suit and you know what that means. They'll settle for pennies on the dollar and I'd say the fishermen down there will be lucky to get a couple of hundred dollars each for being put out of work and loosing their incomes.

And what heading do I spy while perusing articles on the spill?
BP Wants Gulf Oil-Spill Lawsuits Combined in Houston

One last thing before I turn this drum upright and scoop the goop back inside.

People (journalists and other writers) keep using the term decimate to mean the total destruction of a (fill in the blank). The actual correct word is annihilate. Get it right dummies. Decimate means to reduce by 10% or one tenth.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

From Drill baby Drill! to Clean baby Clean!

I've drilled through concrete (core drills) so I can say even under the best conditions things can go wrong. This is at best a difficult task. BP's objective was to drill three miles under the ocean floor at nearly a mile under the open ocean. Nothing like trying to correct a problem remotely with robots. You realize of course that there will be no real clean up of the millions of gallons spilled. At best they'll get 10% of the spill. Not because they didn't try but because that is how things work out when doing oil spill clean ups.

So what to do? If they are ever even allowed to try another deep water drill then they'll have to rethink the whole thing. My guess would be to have an underwater containment collar around the drill head that's heated to prevent ice build up and several back up shut off valves with some type of relief valve or expansion tank, but then that's just a wild guess on my part. I know that when I do a dangerous job I'm always thinking about the "what ifs". First and formost is an escape plan. Next is how to rescue co workers and the very last thing on anyone's mind at that point is protecting the environment. But it really shouldn't be that way. They really should assume that anything can and will go wrong and have a plan A, B, C, and D. At least that's how I've managed to survive all these years with all fingers and toes intact. Remember Murphy's Law? And as they say Murphy was an optomist.

Funny how we don't hear a peep out of Ms. Palin and the drill crowd. Does this mean we can let BP drill some more in Alaskan waters?

Update: This was just too good to pass up from Tengrain:
Sounds dirty - BP is putting a giant box over a stiff pipe that is spewing. Oh, BP, where were you during sex ed?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Beaver Friday just in time

Back and what would Friday be without that fuzzy animal and with an offspring because, you know, Sunday and all.

The class went okay. Passed and have yet another card to add to the deck. Krieky, pretty soon I'll be able to play pinochle.

As for the oil spill I'm sure there enough out of work folk down there to deal with the clean up. It really doesn't take much training to do that type of spill. When Katrina hit and there was the mess to clean up contractors were brought in who hired Mexicans (don't know whether they were legal or not) to do the work. A couple of our guys went down there and did about two weeks work for one of the oil companies but their pay scale down there just barely covers expenses. I've already tried doing the out of town work but with expenses at home it's not worth it.

Heard about the time square bomber. Is it my imagination or are they making dumber criminals? The guy left a paper trail a mile long, spaced it out and locked his keys in the SUV and bought fireworks in a store with cameras. Maybe he needed a remedial Al Qaeda course.

And now on to the bank failures for the week. We have four more in Ca.,Mn.,Fl., and Az.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Busy week coming up

Headed in for yet another certification. Nothing like being over educated and not paid. So while I'm gone take care of things would you? I mean I expect the place to still be here when I get back.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day May Day May Day

I must say I can never read history the same again after going over to Randal's blog. I was looking for an idea of what to write about for May 1 also known as May Day to some. There are two basic images one comes upon with the google. Either you get a pleasant serene scene of children holding ribbons dancing around the may pole or some burly iron worker holding the heavy hammer of labor. Thought I'd check out the worker aspects of this day and what do I get?

The May Day Riots of 1919 were a series of violent demonstrations that occurred throughout Cleveland, Ohio on May 1 (May Day), 1919. The riots began when Socialist leader, Charles Ruthenberg organized a May Day parade of local trade unionists, socialists, communists, and anarchists to protest the jailing of Eugene V. Debs.

Digging deeper into labor history I find that there were strikes, clashes and arrests in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. Oh great more of the us against them rich against poor battles. And they say history doesn't repeat itself. Okay so I'll go back and see what all the dancing around the may pole is all about. Sounds tame enough. What could go wrong there?
Now I swear if I didn't know any better I'd think that Randal had lived for a thousand years and had a hand in history. Who else can find and write about the most obscure asepects of debauchery over the centuries. He's evil I tell you. He's of that Librarianist cult and you know that spells trouble. All that book learnin isn't good for you, but I digress. Upon researching the innocent symbol of the day the inocuous pole I find yet more perverse goings on and here's the history, hide your eyes or look away if you're faint of heart:

The earliest use of the Maypole in America occurred in 1628, where William Bradford, governor of New Plymouth, wrote of an incident where a number of servants, together with the aid of an agent, broke free from their indentured service to create their own colony, setting up a maypole in the center of the settlement, and behaving in such a way as to receive the scorn and disapproval of the nearby colonies, as well as an official officer of the king, bearing patent for the state of Massachusetts:
"They set up a Maypole, drinking and dancing about it for several days at a time, inviting the Indian women for their consorts, dancing and frisking together like so many fairies, – or furies rather, – to say nothing of worse practices. It was as if they had revived the celebrated feasts of the Roman goddess Flora, or the beastly practices of the mad Bacchanalians. Morton, to show his poetry, composed sundry verses and rhymes, some tending to lasciviousness and others to the detraction and scandal of some persons, affixing them to his idle, or idol, Maypole. They changed the name of the place, and instead of calling it Mount Wollaston, they called it Merry Mount, as if the jollity would last forever. But it did not continue long, for, shortly after, Morton was sent back to England, as will appear. In the meantime that worthy gentleman, Mr. John Endicott, arrived from England, bringing over a patent under the broad seal, for the government of Massachusetts. Visiting their neighborhood, he had the Maypole cut down, and reprimanded them for their profaneness, admonishing them to improve their way of living. In consequence, others changed the name of the place again, and called it Mount Dragon!"

So I guess this holiday is just perfect for any and every American. What could be finer than having a choice of celebrating either sex or violence?

Update: Got tied up yesterday and forgot the bank failures so here goes. We had another seven banks down the tubes in Puerto Rico3, Michigan 1 MO 2 and Wa 1.