Wednesday, June 30, 2010

About the way I feel at the moment. Almost had a decent job lined up but not sure if it will pan out.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Have a new name for the oil execs

Digging throught the N.O. blogs last night to get an inkling of what they're going through. They've only just started their journey into hell. Overall they seem to be a fairly quiet bunch when it comes to criticisism but even the strongest will break ranks as time passes. They did after all endure some of the most violent storms in U.S. history over the past few years and some have not recovered from that. What I find truly ironic is the total lack of compassion from the "No" party. Rather than help out with temporary loans to cities and parishes their boy governor would rather look like a tea party candidate. You know no taxes no big government and no bailout for people who by no fault of their own are wondering if they'll be able to feed their families. BP had said they put up all this money to help the people of that area but the truth is many are going into their second month with only promises to pay their bills. The stress is just starting to take it's toll and the way BP is handling this is not helping.

From the Fishermen's Wives


Friday, June 25, 2010

Here she is the Friday beaver

Got tied up reading the Oil Drum and almost forgot our furry friend. On the oil front their predicting a storm in the Gulf and if it doesn't veer off westward over Mexico then insult will be meeting injury. Expected time of arrival would be by Wed. of next week. They need at least four days to evacuate the well area. All reports indicate that if it is a small storm that may be a good thing and disperse the oil. I'd like to point out though that most of the oil is below the surface something that hasn't been considered. We'll see.

Bank failures: Three more bit the dust one each in FL GA and NM.

First coal then oil am I forgetting something?

Oh yes our other wonderful natural resource natural gas. You know that clean burning stuff that heats your water, runs your furnace and could even power cars. Wonderful I thought until a documentary came on TV last night called:
If your click on the link you'll be taken to the website of Josh Fox who made the film. Let the page load and you'll get an animation in very simple terms of what corporate America is doing to it's citizens. Even though this is not the movie itself you can clearly understand the process no matter what language you speak. Great idea Josh!

With the help of Dick Cheney the oil and gas companies have been given Card Blanche to pollute our waters and air. They profit from the activity while the rest of us are both quickly and slowly poisoned by what they do. I was aghast at the chemicals they're pumping into our environment many of which I've worked with over the years. I was very impressed by two gals in the documentary who must have degrees in chemistry or at the very least a high understanding of what is being released into our environment.

And once again greed has reared it's ugly head. Once Dick Cheney cut his deal it was a gold rush to the gas fields which is on our public lands I might add. These are private companies making some outlandish profits on public property and we're getting a pittance for having them destroy our air, land and water. If you thought the exposures from the oil in the Gulf were bad you need to see the effects on the people in the film. You'll see at least the ones who didn't sign a non disclosure agreement.

In Texas on the western part of Ft. Worth there was such a gas rush. People realized that they could get very rich very quick by leasing their land to the gas companies. They were given assurances that the process was very safe and would do no damage. Too bad these people didn't do their homework. Not only is their own health in danger but the health of their neighbors. Which begs the question how much is your health worth? What would you do with a ton of money yet in too much pain to get out of bed or unable to breath?

Every time I see some oil or gas company come up with a new process it reminds me of the last throws of the horse and carriage trade coming up with a new bridal for the horse or a new buggy whip. I keep thinking there must be a better way because we can't keep digging up the remains of dead dinosaurs where we get our food and water.

Later beavers.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The CDC is on the job

This from their web site:

The Gulf Coast Oil Spill has the potential to affect human health in addition to the effects already seen on animal and marine life. CDC, along with the affected Gulf Coast states, has developed a plan to track the potential short-term health effects related to the oil spill in the affected communities. Surveillance systems track changes in the number and severity of illnesses and injuries in a population, alerting public health officials to trends that require further investigation.

CDC, with state and local health departments, is conducting surveillance across the five Gulf States for health effects possibly related to the oil spill using national and state-based surveillance systems. These surveillance systems are being used to track symptoms related to the eyes, skin, and respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurological systems, including worsening of asthma, cough, chest pain, eye irritation, nausea, and headache. If the surveillance systems identify groups of people with these symptoms, state and local public health officials will be able to follow-up as needed to investigate whether there is an association between the symptoms and the oil spill. This follow-up is important because the same symptoms could be related to a different cause.

Side note - Even though there's a sign in sheet for the workers and the contractor is supposed to turn it in to the CDC so that they can monitor the health effects this is all voluntary. My guess will be that they'll never see half the workers or do much monitoring since it is all voluntary. And contractors tend to use illegals because they won't pay them much if at all knowing that they won't complain. Remember 911? It wasn't until several months later that workers at the site started getting very sick. God you'd think we'd learn something.

Now for the kicker as I like to say. It would cost less than $40 for the protective gear necessary to protect these worker and about $6 a day for disposable suits, gloves and filters. Forty bucks now seems much cheaper than the thousands they'll be paying out for medical bills later. Why is it that they are so short sighted?

Here's your florida vacation

Come to the pristine shores of Pensacola Beach where you can play amongst the dead sea birds and fish on wonderfully toxic brown sands. Sit back. Relax and smell that fresh oil saturated sea air. Ignore our beach help, those guys in white suits rubber boots and heavy gloves. They're only doing some tidying up to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. And don't worry about those red flag beach closed warnings. We only put those up to add a little festive color to the beach. And by all means feel free to scoop up some of the oil and take it home with you as a special free gift from us to you and your family. In fact why not take home a couple of bucketfuls. They make great souvenirs for friends and relatives. Now there have been rumors that the oil is toxic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Haley Barber wouldn't lie to you would he? Oil is natural after all. And don't forget to tell all your friends what a wonderful time you had during your stay. And if they act now we'll give them a special discount if they'll come on down. But tell them not to forget their buckets preferrably 5 gallon or larger.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ah crap

As you recall I mentioned to keep an eye on the sea floor for leaking methane coming up. In checking a few minutes ago I find that the Ocean Intervention ROV I had a quick scan of the sea floor. To the left of the arm you could see plumes coming up. As the ROV moved forward several feet the floor erupted to the point of zero visability. Not a major eruption yet but not a good sign. Combine this with the fact that it was reported tonight that the whole BOP stack is leaning more than the tower of Piza and as the guys in the know at the Oil Drum are right. The process is proceeding as they expected. The BOP will collapse and then how will they capture any oil? Remember the big containment structure they lowered down didn't work because of the ice and gas making the containment structure float.

I tried to capture the video from this event but had no luck. I'll see if I can try again later. If what was predicted happens any time soon you may be the witness to one of the biggest explosions in American history.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Old McDonald had a farm

I was watching a bee today doing what bees do crawling on a clover blossom collecting nectar and it came how simple the system nature has in place to deal with the balance of life. When there's a drought, cold weather, or parasites then the colony dies off or moves to better digs to start anew. All is balanced between food water and all other things necessary to sustain life. Somewhat envious of the bee as all he has to do is wake up and head out for breakfast lead by the sight or scent of a floral meal. I understand that they even have a bee language to communicate the location of the best gathering grounds.
How complicated humans have made life. Tied to an ever expanding flood of complex technology we have this illusion that the next new gadget will be the be all end all solution. We've been hoodwinked into thinking that we "need" when in reality we only want. We are at present the most malnourished society on the planet but don't try to tell us that. So where is all this leading? I have focused a great deal on the oil spill because it may be a turning point in our history. Whether we realize it or not the production of our food is directly tied to the oil we use and in a very big way. We always thought that bigger is better but as you will see it's not. It's actually just an illusion and one that can not be sustained for much longer.

Agribusiness and it's ties to oil

Recalling a childhood where strawberries were only available in the early summer months our present menu can have you eating watermelon in December. All because oil is still relatively cheap. And with government subsidies for agriculture and oil all has gone well for the last 100 years but that is about to change. We've had a great run but the party is coming to an end. This is definitely a time to reexamine what we do, how it effects on our planet and how we survive.

Sure hope this doesn't turn out to be true

Now they think that there may be a large bubble of methane undermining the ocean floor in the Gulf. If the sea floor degrades from the pressure it could cause an explosion that would kill anyone near the rig site. Think of it like the scene from an old war picture where the Navy drops depth charges and the ocean blows up only on a grander scale.

If you thought it's bad now

They estimate that this pocket of methane could be as big as 15 to 20 miles in size. An acompaning tsunomi would wipe out Florida.

I'll have to ponder this bit of info. I know shale rock usually forms in layers like a pie crust so the gas must be locked in the rock under high pressure. What surprises me is that it isn't coming out in spirts and then stopping as you would expect. So if you're following this via the video cams then keep an eye out for any cameras focused on the ocean floor.

Later and keep your drums sealed and upright.

Sorry the link didn't work. Try this one or note the URL and hit it yourself

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shall we visit grandpa one more time before he goes?

Like a relative in the hospital we ask ourselves that question should I go to the hospital and see grandpa or would I like to remember him the way he was in better times? So it is with the Gulf coast. You know the scenario. Relatives running around screaming at the doctors to do something and they not really wanting to give it to you straight saying that they are keeping him comfortable and stable but they know the outcome and we should too. "We're doing everything we can for him". We know the story. There's the IV drips and the tests and the nurses who hover around while we're there. We just can't bring ourselves to face the facts. They gave it their best shots and it all failed.

I sat there last night considering all of the options. Every conceivable thought or plan no matter how crazy was not out of the question. Surely some egghead from NASA would come to step in to save the day but alas there is no super hero or brainiac waiting in the wings. What was once a rescue mission is now nothing more than a recovery. So like grandpa in the hospital you may just want to see the coast one last time before you won't be able to again.

How can I be so pessimistic you might ask? Well in reading information from people who are in the business who have analyzed this situation and come to very obvious conclusions. When they did the top kill and it didn't work that meant that the casing was damaged below the sea floor. There is no way to repair that damage. What will happen next will be the collapse of the BOP and the structure that supports it but not before the engineers try to brace it. And they are doing the beginnings of that as I write this. Once the BOP collapses then there is nothing else that can be done other than try and collect as much oil from the gushing hole in the earth as they can. As the engineer put it think of it as a leaking garden hose with a nozzle. When the flow is slowed at the end the leaks grow bigger. When they cut the end off the riser pipe it took pressure off the leaks. But as he put it sand that's coming out with the oil will cause the pipes to fail. It's already causing the BOP to lean.

So if you're thinking of heading that way for one last look remember to take a respirator with carbon filters with you because grandpa is coughing up some pretty nasty stuff.
Sorry not a great father's day gift but it is what it is.

info from someone who knows

Saturday, June 19, 2010

On Robert Dudley

Here's our new man in charge of the oil spill in the Gulf. Couldn't find too much about him other than he has an MIM? degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management and an MA from Southern Methodist. I thought "Thunderbird"? Sounded like internet diploma mill to me or something you'd find on a bubble gum wrapper. It's difficult to find out much about him since he worked for Amoco in Russia on a joint venture. I guess however the four billionaire Russian investors who have a major stake in TNK (that's the russian half) were trying to regain control. It gets complicated but the gist of it goes like this: "TNK-BP is of enormous importance to BP, representing 24% of production and 19% of total reserves in 2007. In 2008, TNK-BP chief executive in Russia, Robert Dudley, was expelled from the country, as part of the power-broking between the two owners."
Can you say scapegoat?

BP had a 96% stake in TNK before Dudley do right was removed and now an agreement for a 50/50 split was reached. To me this looks nothing more than a corporate power struggle but if Dudley gives us the same BS as Hayward did then we'll know that his competence can be called into question.

In researching this I find a very interesting pattern. Corporations who once did business solely in the U.S. have conveniently moved their operations, first from Houston, Texas then to the Bahamas and now to Switzerland. And you may remember that the Swiss were about to open up their banking records so that the IRS could have a peek at all the tax cheaters. Looks like they've changed their minds and that won't be happening any time soon. But then I'll leave this for another post.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ah yes the Friday beaver

Looks like Wayward Hayward will get his life back and I can only hope that his new duties include changing toner in the corporate copy machines and cleaning executive washroom toilets because he sure doesn't know how to clean up the mess that he created. If he gets good at that maybe they'll let him move up to cleaning the lunchroom.
Now it's off to look up the other characters in this Greek tragedy.

Bank failures later.

One this week in NV.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tony Haywire

Tony's busy getting grilled by congress and as usual there's the case of senatorial amnesia as in I don't know. I was not part of that process. I don't remember.
In looking into Tony's background I find some very interesting facts. It's true that he has a degree in geology but come to find out that his "Phd" is an honorary one from Edinborough. It was stated that he had 28 years experience in the oil industry. You'd get the impression that he worked his way through the company working on some rig in a remote land, but you'd be wrong. He was basically a bean counter with positions in the financial and marketing areas of the company. As to his not knowing of the safety aspects or culture, if you will, of the company Tony himself was quoted from the following newspaper article at a meeting he had in Huston, Texas:

• "We have a management style that has made a virtue out of doing more for less. The mantra of more-for-less says that we can get 100 percent of the task completed with 90 percent of the resources. Which in some senses is okay and might work, but it needs to be deployed with great judgment and wisdom. When it isn't, you run into trouble."

• "The frontline operations teams, I think, have lived too long in the world of making do and patching up this quarter for the next quarter...rather than really thinking about how we are going to maintain a piece of equipment for the next 30 or 40 years."

So if I could pose a question to Tony if I was in that senate hearing it would be: You are the CEO of BP and as such it is your responsibility to establish and implement safety measures company wide. Given the past experiences and accidents with BP what was your plan to improve safety procedures, how was that plan to be implemented and how would that plan be monitored?

A lesson? Be careful what you say or write. It could come back to haunt you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BP cares about people? Their history says otherwise

This is the Texas City refinery owned by BP. They bought it from Amaco in 1998 and ran it until this explosion in 2005. Some 15 people were killed and 180 seriously injured with burns and lost limbs. The CSB (Chemical Safety Board) who investigated found many deficiencies in the way BP operated. First there was a 25% reduction in costs of operation. Staffs were cut to save money. One the day of the explosion the operator who had worked 12 hour shifts for 29 days straight was adding a highly flammable chemical to a process tank. The tank was supposed to be filled to a level of 6 feet however it had been common practice to fill the tank to 9 feet in order for the liquid to flow through a pipe and into a heater. What the operator didn't know was that the tank had already reached past the 9 foot level. That was done by the night shift. At the 9 foot level a high level alarm goes off or is suposed to but the chemical had already gone past that level. Not knowing how much liquid was in the tank the operator continued filling. There was another alarm and sight glass at the top of the tank some 70 feet but the alarm wasn't working and the sight glass was so dirty it was unreadable. With the pressure building and the operator not knowing how much of the explosive liquid was in the tank shut down the heaters and tried to divert to another tank but the valve to the overflow tanks had been manually shut so the vapors traveled out a vent stack then down to ground level where a running pick up truck (its' engine starting to race - sound formiliar?) set off the explosion.
If you click on the photo above you'll notice a couple of trailers in the top center. This was where contractors were killed just after coming back from a break.

CSB Chairman Merritt told the committee of further comparisons of safety culture similarities at Texas City and Prudhoe Bay. Both investigations, she said, found deficiencies in how BP managed the safety of process changes. In Prudhoe Bay, Booz Allen Hamilton found "a normalization of deviance where risk levels gradually crept up due to evolving operating conditions." This compared, she said, to Texas City, where at BP's refinery "Abnormal startups were not investigated and became routine, while critical equipment was allowed to decay. By the day of the accident, the distillation equipment had six key alarms, instruments and controls that were malfunctioning. Trailers had been moved into dangerous locations without appropriate safety reviews."

Prudhoe Bay was a case of BP being too cheap to do proper pipeline maintenance even though they were makeing record profits at the time. That spill resulted in 215,000 gallons of oil contaminating the environment. That spill lasted from March 2005 until August when BP finally shut down to fix the leak. They were fined $20 million.

The head of BP was on air today saying how BP isn't some big uncaring corporation. I just have to ask, with your track record how could you consider yourselves caring? How many times must you lie to people before they don't want you in their country killing their people and polluting their land and waters?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The reason I won't be going to the Gulf any time soon.

The fishermen and other responders working on the clean up of the Gulf Coast were asked to remove their protective gear because BP didn't like the image of workers wearing moon suits and respirators.
A little background here on the rules covering companies that require their workers to use respirators. Any employer who requires an employee to wear a respirator must also require that worker to pass a physical and fit test and maintain medical monitoring. Simply put a worker must get a medical exam to determine if they can wear a respirator and have the respirator fit tested to make sure it is the correct size and actually provides protection.
Here's the kicker in the law: If an employer does not require its' workers to wear a piece of protective equipment they can fire that employee if he chooses to bring his own personal protective equipment. It's a matter of liability for the employer.
Once again BP is hiding data on the toxic effects of air in the Gulf. You will note from this report from Gina Solomon's blog:
New BP air testing results were posted yesterday from April 27 - May 26 for benzene, total hydrocarbons, and 2-Butoxyethanol. There's still no information about other oil-related air toxic chemicals such as naphthalene or hydrogen sulfide, offshore.

The BP sampling plan focuses only on workers on the large ships, and appears to not include monitoring for the people on the approximately 1,500 small fishing boats helping to clean up the spill. These people are dismissed as of "Reduced Priority" on page 4 of the BP sampling plan.

Nearly 70% (275 out of 399) of offshore air samples had detectable levels of hydrocarbons and nearly 1 in 5 (73 out of 399) had levels greater than 10 parts per million (ppm), which is an EPA cutoff level for further investigation.

6 samples exceed 100 ppm which in a previous monitoring summary was labeled as the action limit. This label appears to have been removed in the most recent summary document. No information is given on where these samples, or the 4 found to be between 50 and 100 ppm, were taken.

Had I even considered going to the Gulf to assist I would have taken moon suits, chemical resistant rubber boots, half face respirator with chem filters and nitral gloves. But it looks like BP will not stand for that. It makes me wonder if some volunteer shows up on the beach in full protective gear. BP can't fire them because they don't work for BP. My guess would be that BP would throw them off the beach even though it's a public beach. We've seen this before.
My real sympathy goes to the workers and those those that live near the beach and must breath all the toxic air on a daily basis. We may be seeing a similar situation as we saw with 911 where workers and residents developed all manner of health problems months after the event from the volume of toxins in the air at ground zero.

Lastly the wages being paid (prevailing wage rate) is $9.55 hr. That wouldn't cover your room and board for the week. And I'm hearing that workers aren't getting paid. The same things happened just after Katrina. They hired cheap Mexican labor housed them in trailers with no running water and didn't pay them. How do I know? A couple of my coworkers went down to the gulf after Katrina and saw what was going on. Fortunately unlike the Mexican workers they were paid by our company and got reimbursed for food and housing. Plus they got Washington wage rates for the job they did.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ah Jeez

Just when I thought we might be getting out of Afghanistan somebody goes and does something like this Vast mineral wealth discovered in Afghanistan. Now with this discovery you think the U.S. is going to leave any time soon? Nope. We'll be there for the long hall yet once more defending corporate America from anyone else from getting their grubby mitts on "our" resources. Just when I thought the U.S. was smart enough to get out of a hell hole that wasn't worth two cents this happens. And you know what will happen next. Karzi will want a good chunk of change from this little gold mine until U.S. corporations get too greedy. He'll throw out the U.S. some time down the road or at least threaten to do so. He'll then be overthrown by rebels within the Afghan military infiltrated by the CIA. And hence a new dictator will be installed.
Mark this as a basic history lesson folks because we've seen this how many times before?

I hear there's large deposits of lithium there. Good. We'll need it for the manic depression.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Santa's got a nice present for ya

But you say it's way too early for Xmas. Can't even do Xmas in July. Have no fear Santa Hayward is here. But you'll need a few more calenders to keep track.

Everyone should be prepared for worst-case scenario', says the head of oil consultancy group. Hummm where have I heard that before? They're saying that this mess could last to Christmas of this year. There's 194 days till old Saint Nick makes his showing. Assuming they can capture one half of this disaster that would be 87 million gallons on top of the 100 million gallons already there. We know that they haven't collected or dealt with more than a few million gallons. You could factor in evaporation if it wasn't for the fact that their dumping dispersants on it which makes that unlikely. And yet even now their calculations are based on best case scenario. Then there's the problem of hurricane season. If they have to disconnect the collection tanker ships then the flow rate goes back to over a million gallons per day. And the weathermen are predicting a bad hurricane season.

Then there's the issue of insurance. I hear Lloyds of London isn't too happy about this spill and are encouraging a move to renewable non polluting energy sources. Acknowledging that the initial costs are higher but they would be cheaper in the long term,the company admitted that current fuel sources (fossil fuels) will cost more as the result of this spill.

We as a nation could do a great deal more to move towards self sufficiency and it really wouldn't cost all that much. It's been said so many times I'm surprised it's not etched in everybody's brains. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Take shorter showers. Keep your car tuned and the tires inflated. Calk windows and doors. And turn the thermostat down in winter and up in summer. We may not be able to do much for the people of the Gulf but with a little effort we can slow the need for all this deep water drilling.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

And the Gulf oil fight goes on

With all the information coming from the gulf it's getting hard to keep track of everything. Miles of boom are being deployed. Some areas covered while others are ignored. There's many plans in the works but few seem to have been approved. This is looking more like a cross between the "Gang that couldn't shoot straight" and the "Keystone cops". Today I saw Orange Beach, Alabama where the beach was covered with tar and not a boom or skimmer in sight.

In Louisiana
Sand bags weighting 2,000 pounds each were hauled in on Friday to get the process started. The bags are being brought in by helicopters belonging to the National Guard and borrowed from other sources. The bags were placed in gaps at Pelican Island and Scofield Island on Friday. The process will continue until all gaps are filled and the interior barrier marshes are protected from more oil coming ashore.

This report from WWLA TV in New Orleans
GRAND ISLE, La. -- Giant floating barges, usually valued for what they carry, are now wanted for what they may block -- future waves of that chocolate colored sludge oozing towards Barataria Bay.

"We'll have pumps on top of the barges that can actually have hoses attached them to suck oil off as they come against the barges, and the barges will also steer oil towards those openings and have skimmers sitting there to skim off the oil as it tries to go through the opening,” said Deano Bonano, Jefferson Parish's emergency preparedness director. “It won't completely stop the oil. It will minimize the oil getting in there.”

16 barges have already arrived with at least 100 more expected by next week. Area leaders hope to sink them along side one another at major passes where Gulf waters flow into coastal Louisiana.

A more permanent plan calls for an interior barrier of rocks to line the barges, sealing entry for the oil. But the permits have yet to be signed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the feasibility of it all remains an issue.

“We’re going to make sure that in those passes there's nothing that’s going to obstruct it like a gas line that we don't hit that. So they’re doing the tests, the field tests now, to determine where those are,” said Steve Theriot, interim Jefferson Parish president.

Meanwhile the marshland and the way of life for the people of Grand Isle hang in the balance.

"They didn't do anything to deserve this. They've lost their jobs, they’ve lost their livelihoods. We're not going to let them lose their land. We’ll do whatever we have to do to protect them,” said Jefferson Parish Councilman Tom Capella.

Jefferson Parish officials expect the Coast Guard to give its official nod to the project on Friday and hope to gain approval from the Corps by Sunday.

"Hopefully we will be driving pilings by Monday and moving barges next week,” Bonano said.

But the beaches here on Grand Isle are on the other side of the bays, so the barge plan isn't designed to protect areas like these from the oil.

But area officials say the sand, unlike the marshes, isn't alive and so while it may be difficult to clean, they could eventually do it. But calls continue to line the beaches here and response teams remain on call.

My take on this: Booms and sand barriers are fine for a temporary fix but this toxic mess will last for decades. What will really be needed will be a more permanent fix. It may be necessary to put a set of boat locks with a filtration system. Skimmers are fine for surface oil but considering the amount of dispersants BP is using they'll need something a bit more aggressive and subsurface. And now while they have the time before any hurricane heads their way what are they doing? Fiddle farting around wasting time money and resources.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Dam Friday Beaver

Flash floods kill at least 16 at Ark. campground
You can't even go camping without something happening. Which reminds me stay the hell off the rivers here this weekend. You've got snow melt and fast running rivers. Oh wait that's how mother nature thins the gene pool.

Pope pleads for mercy over perverted priest sex scandals. I knew it. He isn't infallible. Must be loosing all that cash and followers.

Lastly and sorry if you already heard this one.

A retirement plan from Washington - joke

Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown in the economy, Congress has decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 50 years of age and above on early retirement, thus creating jobs and reducing unemployment.

This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).

Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to Congress to be considered for the SHAFT program (Special Help After Forced Termination).

Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (System Covering Retired-Early Workers).

A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as Congress deems appropriate.

Persons who have been RAPED could get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependants & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).

Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by Congress.

Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible. Congress has always prided themselves on the amount of SHIT they give our citizens.

Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring this to the attention of your Congressman, who has been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.


The Committee for Economic Value of Individual Lives (E.V.I.L.)

PS - - Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas and oil, as well as current market conditions, the Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off.

Banks failures later.
Only one bank hit the skids in Wa.

BP = Broken pipe

This little machine pictured above is a little invention from Kevin Costner that can process oil at 200 gallons per minute. He's gotten a lot of attention of late for his invention but come to find out that the technology has been around for a while. A Fla. company called Voraxial has a machine that will do 3500 gpm or 100,000 barrels per day. Sounds great doesn't it? It would have been until BP put a slight fly in the ointment. These machines work on the principle that oil is lighter than water. By spinning out the water with centrifugal force the oil is left to be collected. BP in their infinite wisdom has been dumping thousands of gallons of dispersant on the flow effectively changing the weight of the oil. I heard that when Costner ran some test runs of his machine it failed.
There's some 50 BP engineers working on this spill. I'll bet they have more degrees than a thermometer, but not one of them has a lick of common sense.

So BP lies and tries to cover this up as scientists from the Gulf coast states are carefully trying to put this CSI together. Just got an email from the CSB (Chemical Safety Board) saying that they were asked by the feds to investigate. CSB is an outfit that investigates industrial accidents. They have no authority to issue fines or penalties so they are objective. They aren't political. They just want to find out the causes of an accident so that companies can change their operations.

But here's a snippet of just some of what's going on in the background:
MIAMI, Florida - University of Miami professor Hans Graber said Thursday that evidence of the spill on the surface of the Gulf waters should have decreased by now if the cap had significantly minimized the flow. That is not the case. The Coast Guard says the containment cap is capturing 630,000 gallons a day and pumping it to a ship at the surface. That amount could nearly double by next week to roughly 1.17 million gallons. Graber could not explain the discrepancy, but one possiblity is that the amount of oil escaping the well increased when a pipe was cut to place the containment cap.
This is kind of scary when you consider all the dispersants BP is using.

More later as soon as I can find a good Friday beaver shot.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Let that be a lesson to you

People fail to realize the true cost of burning dinosaurs. The only reason we have such antiquated technology is that no one wants to part with something familiar. Just like great grandpa clung steadfastly to the buggy whip we just can't seem to part with an industry that we know is bad for us. The economic model for fossil fuels was fine in it's day. It served it's purpose back when the population of the planet was one third what it is today. But people began to tire of seeing days with no sun with the sooty skies of the industrial revolution. It's not been until the 1960s that cities like Pittsburgh and Buffalo cleaned up their act. And why? All for a cheap source of energy but is it really that cheap when considering the costs to the environment and health?

Funny how we never hear of a disaster with "green" technology. What's the very worst that could happen with green tech? The turbine blew over and workers took three days to repair it and set it upright. Or a solar panel fell from a roof and had to be replaced. No, considering all the extras that go along with our dirty energy policies I'd say it's time to change direction. Relegate the internal combustion engine to a museum along with the horse and carriage.

For too many years there's been the attitude of out of sight out of mind. Even today if we can't bury it we dump it in the ocean. That's what Mr. Hayward would like you to believe. That if you just throw enough dispersant on the problem it will just disappear. No it won't. You can pay off as many scientists as you like to say otherwise but the ugly truth is still there floating on the surface and a drifting slimy mass underneath. And if we don't start really cleaning up this gusher then we're only trying to fool ourselves into thinking it will magically go away. Maybe that's what the plan is now to wait until it drifts around Florida then out for some other sucker to deal with it like throwing your garbage over your fence and expecting your neighbor to clean it up. Why be stingy when you can share such a wealth of pollution with so many states on the eastern seaboard?

But the thing that really pisses me the most in all of this is that we have some of the technologies necessary to clean up the spill and the technologies to start a clean energy revolution but no body wants to start. They're too busy clinging to the buggy whip trying to make that last million before the oil runs out.

Now get off my lawn with those oily boots!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sanctions, boycotts and blockades oh my

You'd think that we're setting up for world war three. Sanctions never work because people cheat. This becomes the golden opportunity to for greater profits by squeezing the country sanctioned and no matter what they say it's always the people that get hurt and not those in power. We think that some how we can force nations to bow to our way of thinking. It didn't work with Japan in the 1930s and it hasn't worked with Cuba even today. Boycotts only work on a small scale. You might pressure a personality from the airwaves or a small business from a town but little effect in the overall scheme of things. People want to boycott BP but I'll tell you right now it won't work. They're too big. You may be successful in running them out of this country but, they'll just sell their oil to some other country at the highest price because that is what business does.
Then there's blockades. They never seem to work either. The only time I can recall one working was in the middle ages when after a year the city under siege was bombarded with bubonic plague corpses launched with catapults over high city walls causing a surrender. The first use of germ warfare.
The Cuban missile crisis started with a blockade but was short lived when Russia agreed to remove nukes from the island nation. That wasn't until the U.S agreed to remove its' nukes from Turkey, a little fact that got lost in history.
To sanction Iran is laughable because everybody isn't on board. Russia, China, and Brazil are still trading partners and even if they weren't we know that companies cheat. And speaking of being on board the fishermen of the Gulf need to round up what little cash is left from BP as investors are jumping ship as fast as a rig blow out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Twenty six years later...

A court in the Indian city of Bhopal has sentenced eight people to two years each in jail over a gas plant leak that killed thousands of people in 1984.

This accident killed 3500 people and all they got was two years in jail and a $2125 fine! Nothing like getting away with murder. I'm sure if this were to have happened in an upscale neighborhood here they would have gotten 20 years and heavy fines. And I note that nobody from the U.S. was convicted.

In other news we have two more gas explosions. First in West Virginia 7 workers were injured when they were drilling for gas at an abandoned coal mine. Then early this afternoon 10 people were injured at a gas line that exploded in Texas. I'll be interested to see more news as to the causes of these events. Generally accidents happen on Mondays or Fridays. I'll check around on this and report back.

More later.

Update: Looks like the Texas accident was another screw up in communications. The pipe localing office doesn't know if the contractor called before digging. The bad thing about this was that the locations are not done by address but by GPS location. I could understand that considering they were drilling a hole for a high voltage line in a somewhat remote location but I still like the old ways better as long as the surveys and drawings are right. It turned out that six people were slightly injured and one presumed dead as he's still missing. He was the auger operator.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Sunday extra

Randal would be proud.

Sorry Busted I just had to steal er borrow this.

BP lies just keep rollin along

1.We have the technology to do deep water drilling.
2.We expect any spillage to be minimal.
3.We have a plan to deal with any spill.
4.We have adequate safety measures for the crew.
5.We couldn't have foreseen this disaster.
6.We believe the spill to be about 1000 barrels.
7.We believe the spill to be about 5000 barrels.
8.We expect the damage to the environment to be modest.
9.We expect the top kill to have a 60 to 70% of working.
10.We expect the junk shot to have a 50/50% chance of working.
11.We will pay for the fishermen's losses.
12.We will hire the fishermen to help with the clean up (10%).
13.Our concern is with the people of the Gulf. (insert stockholders).
14.Clean up workers are just getting food poisoning.
15.There aren't many oil covered wildlife.
16.There are no "plumes" of oil under the surface.
17.The oil is not reaching the beaches or marshes.
18.The oil shouldn't reach Florida.
19.We're doing a good job of keeping the oil contained around the rig.
20.We're managing to collect 10,600 barrels per day with the cap.
(I know there are many more but I leave you to fill in the blanks.)

So like a used car salesmen at the end of the month or a congressmen before an election BP will try and feed their captive audience the highest grade of BS that their spin doctors can muster along with $50 million for the ad campaign.

So today's question boy and girls is (and sorry it's one of those math word problems that we all hate): If you have a 21 inch pipe gushing up 19,000 barrels per day and you partially cap it with a 6 inch pipe how many barrels could you expect to collect? This is assuming you ignore BP incompetence. Hint: It's not 10,600 barrels.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Captain Smith meet Captain Kuchta

Watching testimony of one Captain Curt Kuchta yesterday he's the captain of the now infamous Deepwater Horizon rig. I picked my jaw off the floor when he testified that he didn't know if any of the visitors to the rig (that would be BP execs and Haliburton mucky mucks) had been given safety training. He also said he didn't know if there was safety training documentation or if there was where it would be located. And the captain had worked on the rig for nearly two years? Call me stupid but isn't that one of the most important aspects of a very dangerous job? Any job I've ever been on from the largest to even a one day job requires a safety meeting before one tool is put in motion. I don't know about his profession but I can't start a job until all the workers show copies of their certifications, their physicals and respirator fit tests. After that they sign an attendance sheet a safety meeting sheet and if they're going into the hot zone or containment an entry log. Some sites it can take two hours just to go through all the formalities if there are multiple contractors. It almost feels like you're buying a car or house but it's all there for a reason. So that everybody gets to go home in one piece.

Digging through maritime law last night was of no great help other than it says that those injured have a right to medical treatment and must be paid until they are (can't remember the exact wording) functional? Then today I remembered that this is covered by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. In checking the OPA I find that the max that the federal government can hit BP with is $350 million but the states can impose their own penalties per the following section: §1018(a) The Clean Water Act does not preempt State Law. States may impose additional liability (including unlimited liability), funding mechanisms, requirements for removal actions, and fines and penalties for responsible parties.
So all the state governors who are whining about the feds not taking over better get busy and do their homework and tell BP to start doing a better job because the ball is in their court if they know it or not. Typical republicans don't bother to read and follow the laws that are passed. Now come to find out that all the federal judges down there are recusing themselves because they have family members tied to BP or other oil companies. Great, guess it's time to get the state legislatures in gear and start laying down their own law. Oops I forgot that's how these guys got the jobs they have, with the help of oil money. Can't bite the hand that feeds you now can you boys?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday pussy and she's mad

I had been following this story for some years now and thought it had been resolved. In the 50s and 60s R.W. Grace mined vermiculite in Libby, Montana. It was used in everything from attic insulation to a garden soil enhancer. That is until it was found to contain levels of asbestos. As the people of Libby started dying from lung disease somebody tested and found the cause. This started one of the longest law suits to date and is one of the many reasons I hate republicans. I'll explain. Libby was about to be listed as a Superfund site meaning they could get a large settlement to clean up the town and all the homes contaminated with asbestos. That was until George W. Bush stepped in and signed an executive order stating that there was no danger to the population in Libby and the dying people would get nothing. It wasn't until last year that Libby was listed back on the Superfund site list. Superfund by the way was allowed to run out of money under George W. Woudn't want to inconvience business with paying for the toxic messes they leave behind now would we?

So now scientists are trying to track down people who lived in Libby during the 50s, 60s up to 1999 then moved away to see what health effects they're now suffering. Nothing like being a guinea pig to corporate america.

Lab rats

Friday Bank Failures: Three more this week MS IL and MN. And to add insult to injury the market dove below 10,000.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Worst case scenario

There's two phrases I keep hearing in the news of late that I hate. "That this will never happen again" is one of them and "worst case scenario" is the other. That this will never happen again is foolish. As we continue to move technology forward with yet bigger and bigger endeavors it will be the very nature of circumstance to have bigger and bigger accidents. We have done this by the necessity of an ever growing population.
Let's take worst case scenario. That's right up my alley. All of the emergency response books that I have deal specifically with worst case spills. The process isn't complicated. Non response people are evacuated. The chemical or "product" is identified (that can be done 24 hours a day) calling an ID hotline. Then the response personnel having determined proper protective equipment establish a perimeter with booms, sweeps, absorbent pads or even cat litter is used. Then the product is collected for disposal or recycle. We always assume that things can get worse and often times they do.
That this will never happen again? Of course it will happen again. As long as people fail to follow procedures, as long as profits are ahead of safety and as long as there are failures in communication there will be agains. Never happen again? Of course events will happen again but it's a matter of how well prepared and how much money business is willing to pay up front to deal with the possibilities. How much profit are they willing to part with to prevent future events?
I had considered going down there to help out but after seeing the way this is being managed and the fact that it would be somewhat economically unrealistic I think not. I'm seeing unmanned booms. Booms and sweeps being laid wrong. And workers spending 8 to 12 hours in the sun cleaning up the same spot over and over and getting nowhere. Until the leak is truly slowed and some other techniques incorporated then this is just an exorcise in futility. As long as BP remains in charge of this "clean up" then nothing will be done right. They may have drilled wells all over the world but they seem to have no clue as far as fixing their mistakes and cleaning the mess.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Now BP gets their saw stuck

To add insult to injury BP has now got the diamond saw they were using to cut off the riser pipe stuck. All I can say is been there done that. But in my case the only one I couldn't get unstuck was a core drilling bit that binded up on some rebar. Even the boss tried to get the thing out for a couple of hours. We finally gave up and drilled another hole but BP doesn't have that luxury. And from the sounds of it BP will be doing the same thing by bringing in another saw. Hate to say I told you so but they should have just crimped off the pipes coming out of the BOP. They have the tools.

The gang that couldn't shoot straight

But all is not lost. I had an Ah ha! moment and it occurred to me they got Kmart smart and were thinking with their dipsticks Jimmy! And remember ladies you know well and good what happens when men think with their dipsticks. There can be nothing but trouble. Guess if you can't ram a pipe into it then just cut it off.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thank god for twits

I needed the comic relief. She forgot to tell Jindal to tell BP to keep it's shaft out of the Gulf.

Is somebody reading my blog?

This morning reading through the news I stumble on an article that stated Eric Holder is headed to the Gulf Coast to look into possible criminal charges. I had some other things to do and wanted to cut and paste part of the article as proof period of what was going on. Funny thing happened. The article and all reference to criminal charges mysteriously disappeared. In less than two hours any scrape of evidence to the premise was gone. It was as if someone was sanitizing the news. I need to get in the habit of pasting such blurbs to a separate text page.
The article now out only state that Holder is to meet with leaders in the gulf states and to make sure the EPA is following all the laws. I can say from experience that that should be the least of his worries. The EPA does quite well on their own in enforcing the rules. I've seen them once on a job and will say that they are quite thorough even checking people's certifications. That's not to say that things haven't changed since Bush had his way with them but they still seemed to have some scruples left.

And here we have poor Billy Nungesser, the Plaquemines Parish president (pictured above) who's beside himself because he's watching the slow death of the marshland around his district. What Billy fails to realize is that it was all the principles of the party he supports that got him to where he is now. Let business regulate itself. Get that evil government off my back. Don't bother with safety that's for girly men. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. When caught lie and blame the messenger. Secretly ask the federal government for financial help then when it shows up put your name on the check as if it was your money.

The end result? Booms will be set out. Workers will shovel oil soaked sand. Photo ops everywhere for a while and then the marsh will slowly die. But have no fear in another 30 or 40 years nature will slowly come back as the Mississippi dumps her fertile soils back into the marshlands. Because we all know mother nature wins in the end.