Monday, May 31, 2010

BP Just Never Quits!


If BP's attitude towards stopping the oil from gushing into the Gulf, was the same as it is to trying to defend their corporate brand and defray costs, then that wellhead would have long ago been capped.

Astonishingly this morning there was a story of BP's chief wanker (CEO) Tony Hayward proclaiming there's no such thing as oil plumes and those scientific studies that are being reported all over the various medias are wrong. Oil is buoyant - it rises to the surface - anything underneath the surface is not really there nor is it our doing! To paraphrase BP's wanker-in-chief.

Actual scientists disagree however, "There's been enough evidence from enough different sources," said marine scientist James Cowan of Louisiana State University, who reported finding a plume last week about 50 miles from the spill site. Cowan said oil reached to depths of at least 400 feet. As does the physics of deepwater buoyancy:

Large quantities of natural gas may escape into the water column with the oil during undersea well blow-out or leakage events (Rygg & Emilsen, 1998). The dynamics of the contaminant plume -- and, hence, the ultimate dispersion of the contaminants in space -- may be profoundly influenced by the buoyancy of this gas phase.

In the deep ocean environment, ambient pressures and temperatures fall within a range where many hydrocarbon components of natural gas can exist as solid hydrates (Sloan, 1989). In situ observations (Brewer et al., 1997) and laboratory experiments (Maini & Bishnoi, 1981) suggest that natural gas bubbles may transform into solid hydrates as they rise through the water. This transformation produces an increase in density that results in a loss of global plume buoyancy.

Read a very thorough look at the science behind deepwater oil plumes here.

Of course accountability is only for losers like the rest of us. As far as BP is concerned Tony's doing a heckuva' job! It matters not that they lied about their ability to handle a spill ten times this size.

Don't think I'm picking on Tony just because he's an easy target - from the NYT's on BP's culpability: Several days before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, BP officials chose, partly for financial reasons, to use a type of casing for the well that the company knew was the riskier of two options, according to a BP document.

This is the same fellah who declared the effects of the spill would be minimal and that it was merely 5,000 barrels per day spilling into the Gulf. Nothing BP says can be trusted.

In the meantime, they are going to try another unlikely fix and the people in the Gulf who are losing their livelihoods can only look on and hope. And finally, to continue the illustration that this is a usual pattern of behaviour from BP word of an impending lawsuit  from UK pension fund alleges that it lost money because of falls in the BP share price after a pipeline leak in the Prudhoe Bay field four years ago.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Weekend in the Gulf of Mexico


A couple of months ago a weekend spent in the Gulf would probably be part of a pretty desirable vacation package. Now it's a nightmarish thought and getting worse every day. Word Saturday afternoon is the "top kill" procedure absolutely failed and so now it's on to other things.

While it's been a simple and obvious thing from our vantage point here at NM&P to question BP's candor - it's taken the government far longer to come around to the exact position we took three weeks ago: BP has been grossly underestimating (lying) the amount of oil pouring into Gulf waters and media stenographers have been only too happy to go along. Admittedly we had help from the sources we regularly rely on in the blogosphere and even certain MSM outlets.

This morning President Obama calls the leaking volcano "enraging," assault on the people of the Gulf Coast region, their livelihoods, and the natural bounty that belongs to all of us." While BP is making plans for another attempt at stopping the gushing oil - amidst the heartbreak and fury of Gulf residents - there are increasing calls for Obama to use the authority he has and take over the operation from BP to staunch the flow of oil from the wellhead.

And extra kudos to BP for continuing to behave like the biggest arses in the world with their obvious dog and pony show yesterday with 400 bussed in workers for Obama's visit to the Gulf coast.

Rachel Maddow does some great investigative reporting that takes us back to the Ixtoc 1 spill 31 years ago and the parallels would be laughable if they weren't so tragic. Same old, same old, comes to mind.

In the end you might ask yourself why are the sources I chose better, more reliable than what the government and many media outlets decided to run with? Everyone has the same information in front of them - in fact MSM outlets have inside sources on top of what's available to you and me, and yet they come up with the wrong answers time and again. If you come to the conclusion it's deliberate and they're just peddling corporate propaganda, I think you might be on to something there. Staying properly informed is now subversive.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Top-Kill: What BP Has Done To The Gulf


The name BP decided upon - ""top-kill" - for their attempt at stopping the oil and gas from continuously spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is thick with dark irony. There are no laughs here sadly, merely devastation. As for what they've killed so far, no one can tell - other than the livelihoods of fisherman in the Gulf.

Scientists took a trip aboard a research vessel called the F. G. Walton Smith, and what they found is ominous as far as long-term consequences of the spill are concerned: Still uncertain are the fates of deep coral reefs that live in the gulf, as well as the condition of a unique cluster of bottom-dwelling organisms only nine miles from the damaged well. The ultimate impact the spill will have on commercially important fish like tuna and snapper is anyone’s guess.

First reports of the gigantic plumes of oil were of course met with skepticism by BP and the government. It's hard not get a little angry because when I first saw these reports and linked them to the many credible reports that the spill was far greater than BP was claiming, it made perfect sense. The oil had to be somewhere - even with the massive campaign of dispersant use.

There are now credible reports that other plumes have been located: ...word would come that a separate university vessel, the Weatherbird II, had discovered a giant plume stretching in the other direction from the broken well, toward Mobile Bay. That one threatens some of the finest fishing territory in the gulf.
This morning come reports that say the "top kill" procedure is not working: -  Obama tells the inhabitants of the Gulf region that the government will stand behind them in concrete fashion with loans and monitoring their health:

While people seem to have come rather quickly to the realization that BP does not have anyone but their own best interests at heart and it is having an effect on their bottom line that has not stopped the whores in thrall to big oil from doing their daily dirty work on behalf of the industry. Rayola Dougher speaking on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute (API) proves herself a truly abominable person - I guess big fat bank accounts make it easy to sleep at night while you're f***ing up the planet and people's lives. As recently as April the API were busy fighting new fuel standards and claiming the EPA were deluded. Profit Uber Alles!

Amidst this backdrop there are political storms aplenty and who survives is anyone's guess.

There are some real signs that this disaster, while not unprecedented, is making people think about alternatives to endless fossil fuel use - call it a sheen covered lining.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Obama Takes Responsibility

Unlike the previous president, when faced with a crisis Obama takes charge immediately and when things don't go swimmingly he takes responsibility. Today Obama spoke about the ongoing gusher in the Gulf and answered the toughest questions he could get from a hostile press corps. He chose his questioners knowing exactly what he'd get. I know the names so well myself that I could have predicted the kinds of questions he'd be asked. No one said change was easy - in fact I do believe it was he previous guy in charge who said, "presidentin' is hard work!"

This is how he concluded his opening statements: “In the meantime, my job is to get this fixed. And in case anybody wonders — in any of your reporting, in case you’re wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down.

“That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right away or the way I’d like it to happen. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to make mistakes. But there shouldn’t be any confusion here. The federal government is fully engaged, and I’m fully engaged.”

He took some concrete steps about future drilling today: He suspended planned exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean off of Alaska until at least 2011. Canceled a pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and a proposed lease sale off the Virginia coast. Continued an existing moratorium on any new offshore drilling and suspending the issuance of new deepwater well permits for six months. And Suspended action on 33 deepwater exploratory wells being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

So make of it what you will. There are massive risks in owning this BP disaster - if oil keeps spilling it will be him who takes the blame; not the incompetent and greedy who are actually responsible. It could be a defining moment  for him, and whether or not that's fair is unimportant.

Personally, I believe he is a thoughtful and pretty conservative man who is doing the toughest job in the world. My only criticism (and it's small beer) is that he hasn't been forceful enough in standing up for his beliefs and those that elected him. But then he's President of the entire US not just those who voted for him. Still, he got a health care reform bill passed and today they repealed don't ask don't tell to count among his accomplishments and he is just getting started. Sadly the spill in the Gulf doesn't have that kind of time to be made right and it could derail the rest of his agenda. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

In a previous post about the BP Valdez I talked about the 1979 spill of more than 126 million gallons of oil in the Gulf by the Ixtoc I - here's an interesting scientific article on the difference between the spills and why the results will probably not mirror one another. A couple of interesting notes in the article, one being that the Exxon spill was probably far greater than the oft reported figure of 11 million barrels. and was more likely upwards of 24 million and he debunks the ""no oil was spilled during Katrina" myth.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Promised Land!

Okay, that's a bit of a reach but tonight for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon blew up and the spill in the Gulf began I read the words I've been longing to hear from those in power. The Democratic leader of the Senate, Harry Reid: "This is an opportunity for us as a country to move away from fossil fuel, to do a better job of looking at renewable energies that are available to us all over this country." Hallelujah!

It's more than just the ongoing spill, we know that in our mad efforts to burn cheap fossil fuels more accidents of this nature will happen - read an interesting analysis of how and why at Discovery News which includes a look at how much longer we can continue down this path (hint: It ain't for long!). Global carbon emissions are predicted to increase by 43% by 2035. The emissions rise will be driven by a 49 per cent increase in the world’s energy consumption over the same period. Developing Asia will account for 35 per cent of the increase. That's not a sustainable path.

There's a report today that Arctic ice is shrinking faster now than in it did in 2007 and is on pace to break dubious records. This, from the above link, caught my eye: True multi-year ice - the thick, hard stuff that stops ships - now comprises 18 per cent of the Arctic ice pack. In 1981, when Prof. Barber first went north, that figure was 90 per cent.

Maybe a 1 in a 1,000 year events like that which recently hit Tennessee will make people sit up and take notice that something is out of kilter? Or the longest drought in Northwest Africa in 900 years? Nah!

Sadly we do not face our climate tipping points alone - we manage to imperil every living thing around us as well.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

George Carlin Knew What Was Going On

Hello there! Trying to get it all done today - catch up that is, and while I do that, have a listen to someone who understood the direction this train was headed in:

What BP Does Not Want You To See

As a strategy, being arrogant jerks hasn't worked out very well for BP. Tony Hayward has quickly weasled his way into the top ten most hated people on the planet (conjecture) and he's made his company massively unpopular. There's talk of debarment and boycotts but there's something else going on. You can feel it in the news reports and the comments written at the news sites - people are disgusted by BP's behaviour since the spill.

ABC's Good Morning America sent Sam Champion and Phillipe Cousteau to dive right into the affected area in the Gulf. It's pretty disgusting and alarming and yet as much as I'm sure BP doesn't want you to see that video (posted below), I do believe that the images of an imperious Tony Hayward barking directions on a public beach are far more damaging to their reputation. Have a listen and the reasons become clear. There's more than hubris and arrogance here - this guy has a sense of entitlement beyond all understanding.

For all the discovery by Americans of how terrible BP's safety record has been  in the past -In just the last few years, BP has paid $485 million in fines and settlements to the US government for environmental crimes, willful neglect of worker safety rules, and penalties for manipulating energy markets. - and the series of failures that led to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and oil gushing into the Gulf at estimated rates of somewhere between 25,000 and 95,000 barrels per day - it is their behaviour since that threatens their very existence the most. Blowouts and spills have happened before - Exxon screwed everyone in and around Prince William Sound and that didn't create anger on the level we're now witnessing. Their constant lying about the spill rate may be one reason - turns out BP may be charged by the barrel. But I think there's something else - it's the sociopathic manner in which they've conducted themselves since. As if only they mattered, not the delicate eco-systems and marine life upon which so many are dependent for their livelihoods.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Obama's Dilemma - BP Valdez Revisited

We're only one month into the disastrous and continuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico - one that promises to go on for a considerable time as the relief well will not be completed until August - and the US federal government and Obama are now receiving much of the blame.

I absolutely agree that the admin deserve their share of the blame but if it's going to be aportioned then really their share should be considerably smaller than the actual culprits: BP, Transocean, Haliburton and the GOP which nnot not only promoted self-regulation for the industry but did all the could to hamper any oversight whatsoever. They played a major supporting role with non-stop lobbying for an end to regulations and for shouting at every turn "Drill Baby Drill!" As the linked article chronicles, ten short days after the explosion that sunk the Deepwater Horizon oil rig Republicans were busy introducing a bill that would speed up oil and gas developement on federal lands in western states while trying to circumvent more thorough environmenntal reviews.

The Obama administration's part of the blame in all this is that they did not stick to their guns and immediately work to change policies and clean up the mess left behind by the good ol' oil boys Bush/Cheney and the rest of that corporate fellating administration. In the Bush years, it was all about the drilling. The administration aggressively leased out millions of acres of public land and issued more than 50,000 drilling permits, in many cases risking wildlife habitat and ignoring legally mandated environmental reviews.

From Keith Olbermann's MSNBC program, Countdown: On the spreading the blame around:

On to Obama's current dilemma in all this: The tough choice Obama faces is taking the reins of trying to end the spill now or leave it to BP. Sadly it is industry, not the federal government that has the resources to deal with the leak 5,000 feet below the sea. ... fear is that if Obama federalizes the response and supplants BP, not only will it be more difficult to get the company to pay for the response efforts, but the federal government may not have the capacity to get the job done.

There has been talk that BP may face debarment, a move that would ban BP from future government contracts and end their drilling in federally controlled oil fields. Also there is talk of criminal charges which seems altogether unlikely given the hand-in-glove relationship between big oil and government.

In a story from the Miami Herald that revisits a similar blowout in the Gulf, I found a modicum of reason to be optimistic. Turns out that there is precedence for this kind of spill in the Gulf. Back in 1979 a blowout occurred on Ixtoc I, drilled by the Mexican-run Pemex, which still retains the dubious record of causing the world's largest accidental oil spill, dumping an estimated 138 million gallons over nine months. While swaths of oil did eventually end up covering Texas beaches, between one and three years later, everything was back to normal. There is, of course, no comparing beaches to the delicate eco-systems of Louisiana's marshes and yet maybe...

Anyhow, since it seems naive to not focus on what's happenng as I write, here's a story from the huffpo about some of the feathered victims of the spill: pelicans in Barataria Bay off Louisiana - and questions of whether those marshes and their inhabitants can be saved.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The BP Valdez x 5, 6, 10?

The title says it all. No one has a clue right now except that this is far worse than the Valdez but the extent is essentially unknown as are the far-reaching consequences.

The first story I saw today about the gusher in the Gulf was BP essentially claiming domonion over the waters they have polluted, telling the EPA that they don't want to use a less toxic dispersant and the EPA could go jump in a lake... of oil! Many do not know that the EPA was actually created by Richard M. Nixon and back before it got Bush-whacked, it had teeth.

McClatchy have been all over this story in ways the regular suspects in the MSM have not. Perhaps they seek to carve themselves out a niche as a reality based news site - that'd be nice. I highly recommend you go to their site and watch the video roundup of news from the Gulf. A couple of other stories from McClatchy are the serious concerns about the oil making it's way to Florida beaches and then on up the coast to North Carolina.

As for impacts being felt right now, has a dispiriting article on the impossibility of removing the oil from the spill out from Louisiana's marshes. The picture painted is a grim one: Oil that has rolled into shoreline wetlands now coats the stalks and leaves of plants such as roseau cane -- the fabric that holds together an ecosystem that is essential to the region's fishing industry and a much-needed buffer against Gulf hurricanes. Soon, oil will smother those plants and choke off their supply of air and nutrients.

From NPR, a story about what might happen if a hurricane were to strike while all this is taking place - hurricane season begins June 1, remember, so we'll all probably get a first hand look. They have no clue as to what they have wrought. A lot of people are asking, why BP is still in charge of the response to the spill? That includes democratic strategist James Carville, and while I disagree with his assessment he's probably right about how people are going to respond to this crisis - blame the administration and Obama for not doing enough quickly enough.

To wrap for the evening, two reminders of why BP should be held to account criminally: This story about survivors of the explosion being kept in seclusion and coerced into signing legal waivers. And the fact that an acoustic switch costing .004 % of BP's 2009 profits would have prevented this from happening in the first place.

Note: Full slide show can be found at

Things You Wish You Didn't Know - Weekend Round Up

Going through some old stories on the internet, I came across a story of a ten year old girl that was tasered in Arkansas. Also a ten year old boy was tasered in Colorado. So that got me wondering what the youngest person to be tasered is? If you guessed six you would be right. The incident occurred at an elementary school in Miami back in 2004. The other events happened in the last two years.

The border between Israel and the Gaza Strip is heating up again, with the Israeli army killing two insurgents trying to enter Israel on friday. Hamas confirmed they were sent on an operation to attack Israel. In response to earlier rocket attacks the Israeli air force bombed parts of Gaza.

Speaking of borders heating up Turkey bombed dozens of targets in the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq.

In Kingston Jamaica residents of the Tivoli Gardens, one of Kingston's poorest district have set up barricades in effort to stop the extradition of Christopher Coke to the United States. Mr. Coke is accused of being the leader of Shower Posse, which according to U.S. authorities runs an international drugs and guns network.

In Mexico indigenous leader Timoteo Alejando Ramirex and his wife Cleriberta Castro were killed in their home by paramilitaries. In the same area of Southern Mexico last month, April 27 an aid convoy was attacked trying to bring food and water to the municipality of San Juan Copala in the Oaxaca region.
Map of Mexico: Oaxaca region in dark blue

Unsexy War Blogging

Today, I thought I'd get a bit personal. I didn't post links to the usual litany of stories on Friday as a week of staring at the computer was just too much. I host a progressive radio talk show and play jazz in between the stories. Most of the stories I talk about were found somewhere in the blogosphere or on twitter. Needless to say, I depend on the help of many good people to point me in the direction of those stories the MSM finds inconvenient to pay much attention to.

I blog American, International and environmental stories here and Canadian news at the sister site NMPCanada. I also blog all this stuff over at the radio station. So Friday, after a busy week I'd had enough and went for a 60k bike ride, cooked supper and collapsed in front of what can only be described as bad TV. So I didn't post my newswrap - which I should clarify is generally a list of the stories I talked or will talk about on my radio show.

So, it was a busy Saturday as always but I'll try and hit on stories that seem to be the day's most important. Beginning with those related to the wars of occupation in the Middle East. (Whoops! Somehow managed to slip into early Sunday morning.)

As always, war news is unwanted and unsexy but the US has kids and good people doing grunt work in two wars of occupation, Canada in one, so it is important to never forget.

Today in Afghanistan, the third major attack on NATO forces in six days occurred. Insurgents fired rockets, mortars and automatic weapons and launched a ground assault against NATO's largest base in southern Afghanistan. The AP is reporting twelve Afghans were killed outside of Kabul when US soldiers spotted two suspected insurgents of trying to plant IED's - no word if any among the dead were civilians. Marjah, the object of a major spring offensive faces a deteriorating security situation. Afghan civilians fleeing for their lives.

Someone on twitter today, noting the lack of prosecutions for torture and BP's seeming impunity from charges both for the negligent death of the 11 who died and the ongoing ecocide in the Gulf, said it sometimes feels like GWB's third term. I'd like to echo that and point to a story about a ruling today by a DC Circuit court today that ruled detainees being held by the US at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan don’t have the right to challenge their detention, even though that right is guaranteed to prisoners in the US Constitution.

In Iraq, anger over the deaths of six detainees who died while being transported. Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi said in a statement that the deaths constituted "murder." A busy Friday in Iraq as 56 were killed and 158 wounded.

Since the war began back in 2003 so many of Iraq's legacies have been destroyed and lost forever. Since the last American "surge" Bahgdad has been made a city of rubble and walls. Push aside any romantic notion you may have in your mind about what has often been called the cradle of civilization. Read this story from 2008 about the city of walls  5 after the war began and this poignant story about the loss of the home of the renowned Arab novelist, poet, painter and translator Jabra Ibrahim Jabra which was destroyed in an April 4 car bomb attack that also killed 17 people in Baghdad.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

News Wrap -- Cataloguing the Crazy

Beginning with unsexy war blogging: Analysis suggests it will be near impossible for Obama to achieve a drawdown in Iraq by the August deadline. A brazen attack in Afghanistan on Bagram Air Base suggests that things not on track there either.

A fascinating BBC interview about the ways in which NATO is "divided" over Russia.

The five UN Security Council members have recently agreed to sign on for crippling sanctions to Iran but it may cause the collapse of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the middle-east. And here's analysis from the Asia Times on the deal for sanctions struck by the US, and their reaction to Tehran's nuclear swap with Brazil and Turkey.

From the crazy in US politics, C&L has a wrap on Tuesday night's primaries and vote in Pennnsylvania which suggests that the teabaggers really don't have as  much influence as the media might have led you to believe. I'll hold to my predictions for the coming Novemeber US mid-terms and that is the GOP will not gain many seats in the House. They have a problem: the nuts are running the assylum and they are the hard-core participants in the primaries. So, even in a year where people are inclined to vote against incumbents if your choice is between an incumbent and a crazy person well...

Sticking with crazy people, can you imagine anything easier than a gig where you get to fact check Michelle Bachmann? For insane rantings, how about Newt Gingrich yelling "Obama is worse than Hitler?" Glenn Beck says to store food, pray for him, the apocalypse is coming. He is pocketing a fortune while talking like he is stark raving mad! Of course Rush Limbaugh makes bizarre pronouncements about liberals annd Obama every day of the week.

Wall Street reform bill set to go through in a victory for dems and the administration. It remains to be seen if that means a victory for the rest of us.

And to end on a crazy note, North Korea threatening to wage war if they're punished for sinking of a South Korean ship, which they swear they didn't do.

BP Valdez News Roundup

Increasingly the US government is being blamed for failing to conduct proper scientific studies of the disaster and of allowing BP to obscure the spill’s true scope. BP is urging those who are working in response to the spill to forego health concerns even while some are complaining of ...bad headaches, hacking coughs, stuffy sinuses, sore throats, and other symptoms. The outcry promises to get louder as the oil begins to roll into shore and the Louisiana wetlands.

Sticking with BP malfeasance and coverups, McClatchy is reporting today, Steve Wereley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, who earlier this month made simple calculations from a video BP released on May 12 and came up with a flow of 70,000 barrels a day. Let's hope the investigation into the accident is as thorough as needs be.

The EPA informed BP officials late Wednesday that the company has 24 hours to choose a less-toxic form of chemical dispersants to break up its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This suggests the EPA are concerned that the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants pose a threat to the Gulf's marine life.

As far as changing the subject and getting people to reconsider the burning of fossil fuels as an energy source or at least begin moving in another direction, the ongoing disaster in the Gulf appears to be having little effect. Canada's tar sands are on track to be the largest supplier of US oil and could be supplying more than a third of all US oil imports by 2030. People do not seem to realize that climate change being influenced by human activities is settled science.

And none of this is having any real effect on slowing down off-shore drilling projects either, in spite of claims to the contrary.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Saga of the BP Valdez Continues...

More news continues to pour in about the gusher in the Gulf and BP continues to do everything it can to hide what's happening. Word is that the oil spill will soon be threatening the east coast of the US. There's also word today from CBS in what they call, ...the most disturbing site yet: the first heavy sludge now oozing into the marshes of Louisiana as the slick continues to grow in size out in the gulf. Almost as maddening is this from the same report that: Kelly Cobiella of the CBS News team was threatened with arrest by Coast Guard officials in the Gulf of Mexico who said they were acting under the authority of British Petroleum.

Over here you can listen to the sociopathic Tony Hayward who, after hiding the real amounts of oil and gas pouring into the Gulf, pretend that the environmental impact is "...likely to have been very, very modest."

He's trying to pretend that a spill that is likely, at bare minimum, already the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez x 4, plus more chemical dispersants that have been used at any one tome anywhere - and that's just so far - will amount to little more than nothing?

Before this all started BP assured everyone it could handle a spill of 12.6 million gallons per day. Of course BP can always rely on their whores and shills to do whatever it takes to protect their interests and that includes pushing back on making them pay the full costs related to this disaster.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Like Grains of Sand Through the Hourglass... are the days of our lives? Well, I'm sure you get the idea and I swear one day soon I'll come up with a bettter title for my daily roundup. For those who aren't aware, these links are to stories I'm talking about on my daily AM radio show here in Montreal. The links are essentially proof that I'm not making things up and that it's not just my opinion that MSM lies, obfuscates and doesn't serve us well at all. We do need a real 4th estate and near as I can tell the blogs are it.

There was so much to cover on the BP Valdez that it garnered a post all its own. I do want to begin with news about climate change as NOAA reported yesterday that things are hot -- hottest on record in fact, and that includes ocean temperatures which does not bode well for hurricane season.

Science news that relates to AGW (anthropogenic climate change), Lake Tanganyika, the second oldest and the second-deepest lake in the world showing unprecedented warming ...which has affected its unique ecosystem that relies upon the natural conveyance of nutrients from the depths to jumpstart the food chain upon which the fish survive. A reminder that there's little chance this is some vagary or natural variation like others that have occurred throughout geologic time. You also might want to know that climate change was the cause of a mass extinction 50,000 years ago.
What me worry? Shell offers reassurances on drilling in Arctic Ocean.

One day soon a Wind Energy gold rush will ensue. Until then it'll move in fits and starts no doubt but one thing is clear, Europe is ahead of the US on this.

I've never understood the US's desire to impose "crippling sanctions" against Iran for their uranium enrichment program which Iran claims is for peaceful purposes. Despite claims to the contrary this has never been disproven. Iran does not seem to have the capacity to bring uranium up to weapons grade capacity which is 90% and higher. They don't even seem to be able to bring it up to a 20% grade, which is used for medical isotopes as well as fuel rods, and so yesterday they struck a deal for 3rd party enrichment with Turkey and Brazil. This however has not stopped the US from forging ahead with the 4th round of sanctions against the regime and this time they say they have both China and Russia on board.
My real question is why do the Cold War rules of MAD (mutually assured destruction) not apply here? With one enormous caveat: the destruction would not be mutual if Iran used a nuclear weapon against the US or an ally - it would be Iran's and Iran's alone. That would make it suicidal and highly unlikely.

Attack in Afghanistan kills 6 NATO troops, 5 Americans 1 Canadian. (a very reliable source) says that this attack likely signals the informal start of summer violence in Afghanistan, which is always dramatically higher than the rest of the year.

To close out for now, Rush Limbaugh is creepy and quite possibly insane, while Glenn Beck is creepier and most definitely mad.

The Continuing Story of the BP Valdez

Another day of our coverage of the BP Valdez, beginning with reports that the currents in the Gulf are now moving the oil slick in the direction of the Florida Keys. Think Progress reports, as I've said numerous times on my radio program, as this moves around Florida, the next or another critical area would be the Florida Keys and the coral reefs we have down there. Once it works its way up the East Coast and potentially crossing the Atlantic, it could be far-reaching. You'll find more at on this at Climate Progress.

All of this is unprecedented of course and a lot of what will come to pass is unpredictable, but you can be sure the consequences will not be pretty.

We've slammed the people at BP repeatedly for being heartless and gutless but Transocean proves they're not alone as they beef up their PR team. They're the only party that's been compensated to date and have actually made a profit from this tragedy.

The Obama administration will face tough questions, as well they should, but are proving to be unlike the previous administration by openly admitting to their culpability in the disaster. On Monday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said government failures "certainly" include the Obama administration, which took office in January 2009. There will be an independent commision created to figure out all that went wrong leading to millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf.

The Republicans counter-offer for holding BP to account a complete joke as they propose liability be capped at at $150 million.

And when BP says they are siphoning away 20% of the oil that would otherwise end up in the Gulf, they are referring to their repeatedly discredited number of 5,000 barrels per day spewing into those waters. That is their stopgap measure is drawinng 20% of 5,000 barrels. Estimates by those more credible range from 25,000 to 80,000 barrels per day - meaning of course that BP's "fix" is more likely containing somewhere between 1/25th to 1/80th of the spew.

Liars and criminals.

Monday, May 17, 2010


It's a spectacular May day in Montreal and coincidently sunlight appears to be breaking through the MSM too. At least so far as the BP gusher in the Gulf story is conncerned.

Last night on CBS's 60 Minutes, in the best tradition of this program, they dug into all aspects of the spew, reporting that approximately a Valdez worth of oil has been gushing in the Gulf waters each week since the April 20 explosion, and a lot of people got to hear for perhaps the first time the extent of the failures, greed and hubris that led to this collossal disaster. An example of the carelessness as reported last night: a drilling accident four weeks before the explosion, the critical rubber gasket, called an "annular," was damaged and pieces of it started coming out of the well. "According to Williams, when parts of the annular start coming up on the deck someone from Transocean says, ‘Look, don't worry about it.'

Here's why that's so important: the annular is used to seal the well for pressure tests. And those tests determine whether dangerous gas is seeping in.

So there you have damage to a crucial instrument for monitoring gas pressure from below being dismissed as unimportant. Watch for yourself:

Lot's more news today concerning all of this, starting with Obama sending a crack team of scientists and enngineers to the Gulf to see if they can succeed where BP has failed. An explanation of why the natural gas pouring into the Gulf is equally and perhaps even a larger long term problem to the environment.
Unbelievably in the face of all this here's the corporate shills of the Republican party arguing that everyone should just trust BP to pay what it owes for the cleanup and damages inflicted on the environment and people's livelihoods. Just like you should trust BP to do the right thing about its use of dispersants in the Gulf - they're employing according to EPA data, Corexit and it ranks far above dispersants made by competitors in toxicity and far below them in effectiveness in handling southern Louisiana crude.
This is some of what is imperiled:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

BP and a Compliant Media

Apparently no amount of facts or reports to the contrary will change or make the various medias disregard BP's estimate that 210,000 gallons per day are being spilled into the Gulf. Almost every news site I visited yesterday had the lying BP estimate - the singular exception was the NYT's article linked below. Stenography would seem to be the order of the day, and newspaper companies ask why more people don't subscribe.

Starting a full 2 weeks ago those numbers were discredited and reported by outlets in the MSM as being off by a factor of 5 and perhaps 10, and yet strangley they go back to the BP numbers.

Today scientists in the Gulf say, and the NYT's is reporting, they've discovered giant plumes of oil underneath the surface. One such plume measures 10 miles in length, 3 miles in width and 300 feet in thickness. That's a plot for science fiction movie! And you'll note that NYT's report mentions likely amounts spewing are more likely between 25,000 to 80,000 barrels (1 to 3 million gallons per day!).

Briefly today there was good news in the attempts to do something about mitigating the amounts of oil and gas gushing into the Gulf. BP managed to get the siphon inserted into the broken pipe but that was quickly followed by a setback - as reported by NPR - when two remote control robots crashed into each other and knocked the pipes partially apart and dislodged the mile long pipe. Hopefully they'll get this to work in the near future.

Of all the lies, obfuscations and stonewalling BP has engaged in, it was this from the NYT's report that infuriated me most: BP has resisted entreaties from scientists that they be allowed to use sophisticated instruments at the ocean floor that would give a far more accurate picture of how much oil is really gushing from the well.

"The answer is no to that," a BP spokesman, Tom Mueller, said on Saturday. "We're not going to take any extra efforts now to calculate flow there at this point. It's not relevant to the response effort, and it might even detract from the response effort."

If that's not enough to worry about, there are also significant amounts of natural gas being spilled into the Gulf which depletes oxygen in the waters and could result in the creation of a massive dead zone. "It could take years, possibly decades, for the system to recover from an infusion of this quantity of oil and gas," Joye said. "We've never seen anything like this before. It's impossible to fathom the impact."

Finally, here's a report from National Geographic on the possible effects of the toxic soup now circulating in the Gulf of Mexico.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Just Another Day

With another long list of wankery and outrages not being given proper coverage in the MSM.Some of which I talked about on my radio show today.

There's no way for me to begin that doesn't include the day's biggest butthole: Tony Hayward, the BP CEO who said today of the oil spewing into the Gulf, "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume." We would like to offer him a very tiny bit of anthrax or maybe a dollop o' rat poison so he can learn a basic lesson about chemistry and see how that works out.

The NYT's reports that for years, the MMS (Minerals Management Service) has not bothered to require the necessary permits from BP and other major offshore drillers, even though government scientists were reporting major safety concerns, likely environmental impacts and threats to endangered species.

BP had wrong diagram to close blowout preventer. Really, you couldn't make this stuff up. McClatchy says criminal charges against BP are likely.

That didn't take long: From the LA Times, ...seafood shortages are starting to plague markets in New Orleans and throughout the country. Note the LA Times still reporting only 5,000 barrels per day spewing into Gulf.

Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski votes against holding Big Oil companies responsible for their crimes.

Remarkable and sad amateur video of BP Valdez oil slick:

Other remarkable goings on include the bit of good news that Obama may create more jobs this year than Bush jr. did in his entire Presidency.

Republicans in Maine holding a convention in a middle-school went through eighth-grade teacher Paul Clifford’s items, opened sealed boxes, stole a prized poster, and vandalized the room with Republican slogans. Go read all the sophmoric and hateful things they did. Remarkable.

Climate science denier and all around moronic GOP Senator Inhofe says soldiers "not equipped" to deal with gay comrades. Clearly Inhofe not equipped to deal with reality.

GOP yesterday killed a House bill that would increase funding for scientific research and math and science education by forcing Democrats to vote in favor of federal employees viewing pornography.

Total Eclipse of the Gulf

Just in from doing the radio show and getting ready to post the day's links. This morning's news has headlines everywhere reading that the information I've been trumpeting on this site and the radio show is pretty much spot on. If anything I've been understating the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf and the possible devestation. I'm no expert and am reliant on sources that I can dig up in the various media that have proven themselves to be reliable. Truth is even the experts don't know where all this oil is headed.

Anyhow, can't go about work without a sense of humour or a good laugh now and then, so this morning I turn to Bonnie Tyler.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Day in the Life

Beginning with net neutrality - Here's a primer with much help from the great people at C&L who are responsible for cluing me in: In 2007, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) and the Associated Press confirmed that Comcast was clandestinely blocking BitTorrent traffic. It was a clear demonstrations that ISPs are technologically capable of interfering with your internet connection, and that they may not even tell you about it. After numerous complaints, the FCC in 2008 stepped in and threw the book at Comcast, requiring them to stop blocking BitTorrent. At this point it bacame of vital importance to the FCC.

Yet the FCC has formally issued draft net neutrality regulations with a huge copyright loophole in them. The loophole effectively permits Comcast to block BitTorrent just like it did in 2007 by claiming that it was "reasonable network management" to "prevent the unlawful transfer of content."

So the new proposed net neutrality regulations allow the same practices that net neutrality was first invoked to prevent, even if these ISP practices end up preventing perfectly lawful content and activities.

So, is this net neutrality? The answer is no. The entertainment industry is pressuring ISPs to become Copyright Cops. Carving a copyright loophole in net neutrality leaves numerous lawful activities at the mercy of over-reaching copyright filtering schemes, and there has already been plenty of evidence that copyright enforcers will target legitimate users by carelessness and design.

For net neutrality regulations to be taken seriously and to not screw up accessibilty, the loophole must be closed. If they fail the corps like Comcast  the internet will become more like radio and TV. With a few major corporations who control which voices are heard. It would be much more difficult for grassroots groups, individuals and small businesses to create their own online presence and compete with large corporations and well-funded special interests.

So, here from ThinkProgress is a very in-depth look at all the issues as it's not receiving sufficient coverage in the MSM, and the coverage it does get is mostly lies, some of it is inane and some downright insane.

Moving on, BP admits its estimates of how much oil is spewing into the Gulf could be off by a factor of 5. Now where have we heard that before? No one can say for sure where that oil is headed either. Don't worry your pretty little head about all this - just a one-off, so Shell wins rights to drill in the Arctic! Here's that ghastly video of the oil pouring into the Gulf.

Seymour Hersh says battlefield executions are taking place in Afghanistan.

Obama says he will delay Iraq troop withdrawals - not for long but still not a good sign.

Climate Progress asks if we'll see a 4th straight year of record low ice volume in the Arctic?

Pope Benedict the Hypocrite declares Gay Marriage dangerous but (celibate) boy-buggering priests still okie-dokie!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Like Grains Of Sand...

Daily links time again. Been gone for a couple of days and not doing radio show so the feature was skipped. There were still posts of course and as timely as we could be. The oil spill in the Gulf is getting some of the front page treatment it deserves, at least from McClatchy, where they beg the question, "What Happens If We Can't Stop It?"

BP refuses to realease video footage of the spew but there is a picture for you to look at and contemplate - you might also want to consider what happens if this oil and the dispersants get into the Atlantic currents. This has always been our concern and our question.

The fact that the Federal government has long known that they were unprepared for such a spill, exercises conducted in 2002, 2004, 2007, and just this past March caused federal officials to express concern about a host of issues weaknesses in coordination, communication, expertise, and technology that have plagued the federal response to the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

This all makes it a perfect day to release the new climate and energy bill.

As for the cost to BP, on today's show we discussed how the money spent so far equals 4 day's worth of profits from BP's bottom line. This op-ed from over at the LA Times echos what we've been saying on the blog and radio show so let me say it's extremely thoughtful.

This is fun, the 3 major companies responsible for disaster playing blame game. Of course letting the oil industry write its own safety rules was criminally stupid.

Things don't look good for a summer offensive in Kandahar. The occupation of Iraq continues on and on with 154 killed on Monday.  US feeling backlash from employing drone attacks in Pakistan.