Bigger things to worry about than global warming: Scientists say a destructive solar blast narrowly missed Earth in 2012

March 22, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

As Maxwell Smart would have said, “Missed us by *that* much!”

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Video follows of the July 23rd, 2012 Coronal Mass Ejection, said to be the fastest ever

From UC BERKELEY — Earth dodged a huge magnetic bullet from the sun on July 23, 2012.

According to University of California, Berkeley, and Chinese researchers, a rapid succession of coronal mass ejections — the most intense eruptions on the sun — sent a pulse of magnetized plasma barreling into space and through Earth’s orbit. Had the eruption come nine days earlier, when the ignition spot on the solar surface was aimed at Earth, it would have hit the planet, potentially wreaking havoc with the electrical grid, disabling satellites and GPS, and disrupting our increasingly electronic lives.

View original 1,212 more words


Tweet of the Day, #LAquake edition

March 17, 2014
"Even the monkey is embarrassed"

“Even the monkey is embarrassed”

So, as you probably all heard, we had a light earthquake near Public Secrets Global HQ this morning (1). Not a bad one, though I was near the epicenter and upstairs, so it was still a good ride. But, if you’ve lived in California for your whole life, as I have, it’s also nothing you haven’t been through, before. A momentary “uh-oh” as you wonder if this is the lead in to The Big One, and then back to whatever you were doing as it fades away. And I figured my fellow Angelenos would feel the same way. After all, did we not laugh and point when D.C. had their quake?

Then I saw this (via Twitchy):

Really, people? “Hello? Operator? I’d like to report an earthquake. Would you please send someone out to arrest it?”

Tourists. Yeah, that’s it. It must be tourists.

PS: While we laugh at each other and ourselves, let’s remember that earthquakes are serious business, and it’s our own individual responsibility to be prepared for when a bad one hits; help from the government may take days to arrive, after all. Earthquake Country is a good site with before, during, and after advice.

Footnote:
(1) I deny any and all rumors that I was conducting below-ground atomic testing. Pay no attention to that small radioactive cloud…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Forest fires as an act of jihad?

June 19, 2013
"...can prevent forest jihad."

“…can prevent forest jihad.”

Summertime is forest fire season in much of the western United States; here in California, it’s almost an annual ritual to watch some part or another (or several at once) of the state go up in smoke.  And the causes can be as mundane as they are frustrating: firebugs getting their thrills; careless campers or hikers; or idiots shooting off fireworks too near dry brush. And for someone else’s carelessness, hundreds and even thousands of people are put at risk of their homes and lives, not to mention the vast public expense needed to fight a blaze.

But what if they weren’t all the accidental products of carelessness, or even garden-variety arson? What if some were acts of holy war?

In the Washington Examiner, Mark Tapscott takes the recent Black Forest fire in Colorado as his jumping off point for a discussion of the dangers of “forest jihad:”

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld (1) of the New York-based American Center for Democracy’s Economic Warfare Institute warns that last July “al-Qaeda’s English-language online magazine, Inspire, published an article called ‘It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb,’ which featured instructions on how to build an incendiary bomb to light forests on fire.

“A few months later, Russia’s security (FSB) chief, Aleksandr Bortnikov warned, ‘al-Qaeda was complicit in recent forest fires in Europe’ as part of the terrorists’ ‘strategy of a thousand cuts.’ Bortnikov spoke of ‘extremist sites [that] contained detailed instructions of waging the forest jihad and stressed that such a method had proved itself effective as it inflicted both physical and moral damage, needed little training or investment and it was extremely hard for police to find and apprehend the arsonists.’

“Since then, more fatwas advocating that ‘Fire is cheap, easy and effective tool for economic warfare’ have been issued. They’ve included detailed instructions for constructing remote-controlled ‘ember bombs, and how to set fires without leaving a trace.’”

And it’s not just in the US, as Tapscott points out. Not only has Russia suspected Muslim terrorists of setting forest fires in their country, but Australia, too, has been declared a target, while deadly fires in Western Europe aroused suspicions.

There’s little proof that any of these fires were acts of jihad, but the fact that al Qaeda and other Islamic supremacist groups have shown great interest in setting them should make us wary. The West has done tremendous damage to al Qaeda and its affiliates since 9/11/01, largely blunting their efforts to conduct more catastrophic terror attacks against us. But, they are nothing if not adaptable, and it only makes sense that they would look for other means to strike at us, the “infidels.”

RELATED: The National Interagency Fire Center has good info on current large wildfires. At the ICT in Israel, Colonel Jonathan Fighel has an important article on al Qaeda’s interest in forest jihad, while The Gatestone Institute published Soeren Kern’s piece explaining AQ’s “thousand cuts” strategy.

Footnote:
(1) Rachel Ehrenfeld also wrote “Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed And How To Stop It,” a must-read work on the money networks behind international terrorism.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


We missed the fiscal cliff (for now), so have a heaping helping of pork to celebrate!

January 2, 2013

So, a bill meant to address our growing fiscal crisis (hah!) is also loaded with hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars in pork. You know, those special allocations, set-asides, and tax cuts that constitute taxpayer-funded welfare for some or another group that congressmen and senators are trying to buy votes and donations from.

The Washington Free Beacon has an “interesting” video on the topic:

pork interview CNN

And they wonder why the public increasingly holds Congress in contempt.

Okay, I know some of these measures may have a rational justification, but there’s just way too many that are nothing more than payoffs to favored constituents. It’s corrupt and corrupting, and it has to stop.

I think the Confederate constitution had a clause limiting any piece of legislation to one topic, so this kind of thing couldn’t happen. (Pork is an old bad habit of this Republic.) I think something similar might be a good idea for the U.S. Constitution, too.

RELATED: On the topic of the fiscal cliff deal, my blog buddy ST has a great piece on how to look at the fiscal cliff deal and one on pork in the Hurricane Sandy relief package.  Back to the fiscal cliff, Peter Wehner argues that a bad deal beats a calamitous outcome.


I knew NYC Mayor @MikeBloomberg was an arrogant, statist ass…

November 2, 2012

“Death? Chaos? There’s a race to run!”

But I never knew just how monumental and perfect an ass until now:

Staten Island pleads for help: “We are going to die!”

Per the Mayor: “Screw Staten Island, the marathon must go on!

And to think Bloomie has had presidential ambitions. How’s that looking now, pal?

I bet they wish Rudy were still in charge.

RELATED: More from my blog-buddy, ST.


Katrina was newsworthy; Midwest floods, not so much

June 12, 2011

And the difference seems to be the letter after the President’s name, in this case a D instead of a R.

At Pajamas Media, Roger Kimball thinks back to the hysteria-laden criticism of the Bush administration during and after Hurricane Katrina and, in a photo essay, wonders why everyone is so quiet, now. Here’s one sample:

To which Roger asks:

Why is the MSM not demanding to know where are the FEMA trucks and trailers and food services?

Good question. Click through for more.

Afterthought:

And yet Sarah Palin’s email records as governor are so important that the MSM goes into a feeding frenzy and begs the public for help? Seriously?


When Texas burns, the Fed rushes into action… in Mexico??

May 11, 2011

In case you missed it, much of Texas is burned up, literally; according to Kevin Williamson at NRO, about 3400 square miles have gone up in flames, an area the size of Puerto Rico. Williamson uses this fact to excoriate President Obama for coming to Texas to raise money and sell his non-starter of an immigration plan while refusing to even tour devastated areas, let alone declaring a federal disaster area.

But he saves the cherry on the sundae for last:

To its credit, the Obama administration has dispatched aircraft to help with the firefighting . . . in Mexico.

MEXICO??

Following Williamson’s link, we find that he really did:

Two specially equipped U.S. Air Force cargo planes left Colorado on Saturday to help battle wildfires in northern Mexico.

The C-130s were requested by the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department, a U.S. Northern Command spokesman said.

The planes can spray about 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in a matter of seconds from a system of pressurized tanks called Modular Aerial Fire Fighting System or MAFFS.

The fires have burned 386 square miles in Mexico — one-ninth of what’s been destroyed in Texas — and yet the Obama administration won’t send help to Texas but will to Mexico? Mr. President… Barry… WTF??

Oh, and you want to know the best part? The planes will be flying from a base… in Texas.

That sound you heard was the sound of the back of Obama’s hand meeting Governor Perry’s face.

Look, I have no problem helping Mexico, per se; we have plenty of resources in the Western states. But it seems to me that you take care of your own people, first, and then lend what you can spare to help the neighbors. This looks like nothing more than the administration taking out its petty anger at Texas and its governor for not voting for Obama and for not supporting his policies. President Peevish apparently only helps those who help him, regardless of the duties of his job.

So, let’s consider. On the one hand:

  • He seemed indifferent to the  flooding that devastated Nashville in 2010.
  • He is ignoring fires that are ravaging Texas in 2011.
  • He is wrecking the Gulf Coast economy with his permitorium, in defiance of a federal court order.

On the other:

Three-to-one. I’d say it’s pretty clear his natural instincts are to go with the “gangster government” approach to governance: “If you play nice, you get help. But if you cross me, you can burn for all I care.”

Literally.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

CLARIFICATION: The linked article discussing planes sent to help Mexico is from April 16th, nearly a month ago. I should have noted that and apologize for any confusion. However, as an article from the Christian Science Monitor, dated just two days later, shows, Governor Perry was asking for help way back then. So, why the hold up?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Amazing video of the Japanese tidal wave

March 27, 2011

I may have seen this one before, but, still, this is just incredible:

via Verum Serum


Japan earthquake: before and after photos

March 15, 2011

Want to see something impressive, in that “so shocking my brain almost can’t process this” kind of way?

Australia’s ABC News has before and after photos of areas in Japan devastated by the Sendai quake and tidal wave. Roll you mouse over the photos to see the difference, and then go donate some money to relief efforts.

By the way, the US Geological Survey has “upgraded” the quake from magnitude 8.9 to 9.0. To give you an idea of the force generated, the 6.7 Northridge earthquake that trashed Los Angeles in 1994 equaled the force released by the explosion of a 168-kiloton nuclear bomb. What was the equivalent for last Friday’s 9.0 temblor?

474 megatons. The largest warhead we ever deployed was the 9-megaton W53, and it would take 52 of those to match the power of last week’s quake.

Like I said, the mind almost can’t process it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Japan quake: Gaea is angry with us!

March 11, 2011

Global warming explains all. So I have written. Amen.

 

God, I love the magical thinking some people indulge in. In the real world, an earthquake is caused by tectonic plates fracturing and shifting along a fault line. Most people with a basic high-school education know that.

But, in the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming, Man is guilty of horrid offenses against the Earth, and so it punishes him.

Yes, global warming caused the earthquake off Sendai:

Hours after a massive earthquake rattled Japan, environmental advocates connected the natural disaster to global warming. The president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Staffan Nilsson, issued a statement calling for solidarity in tackling the global warming problem.

“Some islands affected by climate change have been hit,” said Nilsson. “Has not the time come to demonstrate on solidarity — not least solidarity in combating and adapting to climate change and global warming?”

“Mother Nature has again given us a sign that that is what we need to do,” he added.

Global warming enthusiasts have also taken to Twitter to raise awareness of the need to respond to the earthquake by finally acting on climate change. And the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Lee Doren compiled some of the best ones.

Some examples:

AliceTMBFan said “2 hours of geography earlier talking about Japan has left me thinking…maybe global warming is way more serious then we thought…”

Arbiterofwords tweeted “I’m worried that Japan earthquake, on top of other recent natural ‘disasters’, is a sign we’ve passed point of no return for climate change.”

MrVikas said “Events like the #Japan #earthquake and #tsunami MUST keep #climate change at forefront of policy thought: http://bit.ly/cZe8To #environment

Click through for more fantasy science.

What’s next? Beseeching the forgiveness of the Goracle? Human sacrifice to propitiate Gaea?

I’m sure a drum circle is coming at any moment… .

RELATED FOOLISHNESS: I’m not sure how this meshes with the suntan and sex theories of earthquakes.

LINKS: Yid With Lid is just plain disgusted.


Is incompetence an impeachable offense?

June 29, 2010

I ask that only half-tongue in cheek, because right now I am ready to put the whole Executive Branch on trial, from Obama down to the night janitor. Time and again in the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster, we’ve been treated to one mind-boggling example of hitherto unimaginable ineptitude after another. First there was the overall lackadaisical response. Then we learned of miles of containment boom sitting in Maine, unused and unwanted, even though the scale of the disaster called for every square foot of it and more.

Now comes the capper. Word has been going around for weeks that foreign governments had offered their expertise and equipment to help deal with the crisis. As I said at the time:

When your neighbor offers to help put out a fire on your property, don’t you say “yes, thanks?”

Hell yes you do!

But, we were told, the situation wasn’t quite as it seemed. Not as bad as it looked. The Dutch weren’t being blown off and, by the way, Sarah Palin is an idiot.

Guess what? It’s worse than we thought and the idiot lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Avertible catastrophe

(…)

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment –unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, “We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water–the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that.” In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls “crazy.”

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.

Funny. I thought it was the American instinct to “dive into action” in an emergency. I guess it goes dormant whenever we have a President who’s “too cool to care.”

Meanwhile, the Gulf states are seeing their beaches destroyed and economies ruined in a disaster that could have been prevented, all because we first turned down the best available help and then dragged our feet after accepting it to appease labor unions. This lack of urgency and initiative and any sense of priorities falls squarely at the feet of President Obama, who could have set relief efforts in motion much faster had he actually kicked some bureaucratic tail, instead of just talking about it.

But that would interrupt tee-time, wouldn’t it?

Tell you what, Mr. President. You go golfing, but, before you leave, how about putting someone in charge of this who actually knows what to do to clean up the mess?

After all, she was right about the Dutch.

(via Ace)

LINKS: More from Fausta, who brings us the news that the Feds have finally asked for help, and Allahpundit, who links to this beauty.

Pardon me, but I need to pull my hair out.  At wits end


When you’ve lost the cab drivers…

June 28, 2010

Nile Gardiner, one of the Telegraph’s US-based correspondents, has often harped on President Obama for his poor handling of what had been excellent and close relations between the US and Great Britain. From the return of the Churchill bust to the dumping of Uighur terrorists in Bermuda (the security of which is Britain’s responsibility) to publicly leaning toward Argentina in the revived dispute over the Falkland Islands, it’s become clear that Obama doesn’t care about the “special relationship” between Britain and the US, and perhaps even holds that country in contempt. (Some Americans might argue that he feels that way about this country, too.)

The most recent major irritant has been the Obama Administration’s bashing of BP for the Gulf oil spill, which has gone far beyond what’s deserved to treating the company (a big Obama donor) into a whipping boy and extorting $20 billion from it for a slush fund trust fund. The pensions of millions of Britons (and, I might add, Americans) depend on dividends from BP shares, and they don’t like the prospect of the company’s finances, and thus their pensions, being crippled in the service of Obama’s political needs. While Gardiner knew that Obama’s popularity was dropping among the upper classes of the UK, he was shocked on a trip home to learn he’s losing even the man on the street – in this case, the cabbies:

In a series of meetings with leading opinion formers in the UK, I barely heard a good word said about the president’s handling of relations with Britain or for that matter his presidency in general. In contrast, when he first entered the White House 17 months ago, impressions of Barack Obama across the Atlantic were overwhelmingly positive.

But the disillusionment with Obama extends far beyond the political and media elites. I was particularly taken aback on this trip by the level of animosity towards Obama’s leadership expressed by some London black cab drivers, who have also turned against the US president, especially over his handling of the BP issue. In numerous trips across central London I asked cabbies their opinion of the Obama presidency and in particular his handling of BP. Without fail, the views expressed of the president were overwhelmingly negative, and there was a strong belief among many drivers that Obama is anti-British.

I mention London cab drivers, not only because they are the best taxi drivers in the world by a mile, but also due to the fact they usually take a keen interest in politics and international affairs, and are often a good barometer of British public opinion. If Obama has lost the sympathies of the average London black cab driver, I would argue he has lost the support of the British people too.

Gardiner goes on to make a good point: America and Great Britain are closely involved in some of the most serious issues facing the world today. From active combat in Afghanistan to the nuclear threat posed by Iran and the shadow war against jihadist Islam, to name but a few, the two governments are cooperating closely. But Obama’s serial disrespect of Britain and, now, his overdone attacks on a major pillar of the UK economy are creating a groundswell against him that could threaten that alliance.

No one is excusing BP from its liability in this disaster; even BP has said time and again it accepts responsibility. But Obama needs to stop using BP to distract from his own ineptitude in the Gulf and start doing what’s needed to clean things up, before permanent damage is done to one of our closest alliances.


The unengaged president

June 26, 2010

Mark Steyn has a great column at National Review you should read, comparing the President’s lack of interest in dealing with the Gulf oil spill to his lack of interest in Afghanistan (except when he’s accuse of being uninterested) and find the major media finally getting the message our enemies already understand:

Only the other day, Sen. George Lemieux of Florida attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America’s overpaid, over-manned, and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something on the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States: Weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida. Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their “super-skimmers”: Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Senator Lemieux found the president unengaged and uninformed. “He doesn’t seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers,” reported the senator.

He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” wrote Richard Cohen in the Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. . . . The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.

“This, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?”

Gee, if only your newspaper had thought to ask those fascinating questions oh, say, a month before the Iowa caucuses.

Read it all.

(via Sarahbellumd)


The Maine oil booms: Yes, they’re blowing smoke

June 17, 2010

Earlier in the saga of the Packgen oil-containment booms that apparently neither BP nor the Federal government wants, ostensibly because of quality issues, I had asked the following question:

Or are Washington and BP blowing smoke to cover for an initial and inexcusable lackadaisical response to the biggest environmental catastrophe in US history?

Silly me. I should have realized this was a rhetorical question; of course they’re just lying to cover up their bumbling:

Engineering Professor Gives Maine Boom Thumbs Up

“I have never directly looked at boom before,” says Ian T. Durham of the Department of Physics and Cooperative Engineering at Saint Anselm College.

That said, Durham says, analyzing boom “is a fairly standard, pretty simple mechanical engineering problem.”

Durham was recently hired by Packgen — the Maine packaging company that manufactured roughly 80,000 feet of boom that the US Coast Guard says failed an initial BP quality control test. Packgen president John Lapoint III has expressed frustration at BP/Coast Guard bureaucracy, insisting that the boom he’s making will work well in the Gulf, where boom is desperately needed.

Durham would not say how much he was paid, but he says he’s generally paid $100 an hour for consulting, and his analysis of Packgen boom took rougly 40-45 hours.

You can read Durham’s report HERE.

He says Packgen’s boom is superior to other boom. Its woven polypropelene is “practically indestructible,” he says. “Packgen uses it to make toxic waste disposal containers.”

Using woven polypropelene means the Packgen boom isn’t “going to twist like the vinyl” boom. “And it’s easier to deploy. It’s nice and stiff and it floats really nicely.”

As far as the professor is concerned, the boom meets or exceeds accepted ASTM standards. So, I ask again: aside from  connector problem that was easily rectified by Packgen, what is BP and the Coast Guard’s problem with Packgen’s product? If it’s even 50% effective, isn’t that better than nothing? Why hasn’t the whole supply been bought and shipped to the Gulf via military airlift?

It seems now that the answer is clear: the administration and BP screwed up by not acting on Packgen’s initial offers, which were conveyed through Maine’s two senators, and are now covering their rears by making up excuses that don’t stand up to the mildest challenge. Rather than admit they were slow off the mark and fixing the problem, the Lightworker administration waves its hands and tries to distract the audience like a cheap stage magician in Vegas whose tricks the crowd can see right through.

Pathetic.

(via Hot Air)


The Maine oil-booms: CYA in action?

June 14, 2010

A few days ago, we covered the stunning revelation that the Coast Guard admiral in charge of dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill seemed never to have heard of the miles of containment boom sitting unused in Maine. ABC’s Jake Tapper broke that story and followed up with the Coast Guard, who told him the boom hadn’t met quality standards.

Eh… Not so fast. Tapper, again:

Over the weekend, Capt. Ron LaBrec from Coast Guard Public Affairs told me that according to a BP quality control inspector the PackGen boom did not pass an initial quality control test.

“Boom is subjected to great wear and tear when placed in the water and must be frequently tended,” LaBrec told me. “In order to retain its effectiveness boom must be of high quality. Once Packgen’s boom passes inspection, the company can be considered as a source for supplying boom.”

LaBrec noted that in the meantime, “suitable boom is being identified and obtained quickly” with 459,000 feet of boom stored in the region in addition to the 2.24 million feet deployed.

So what was wrong with the PackGen boom?

“There were concerns with material and end connectors,” LaBrec said. “BP has inspectors who visit facilities and regularly test boom. In addition to testing boom from new suppliers, boom from existing manufacturers is also tested/inspected. The Coast Guard also inspects boom that we purchase from suppliers. It is important because poorly designed boom may not work as intended.”

[Packgen President] Lapoint said the boom “not only meets” standards, “it exceeds it.”

“The only issue was the end connectors,” Lapoint said. So, he said, “we changed it to the universal connector, so there shouldn’t be any problems at all.”

Packgen further claims their boom exceeds standards by a factor of two, while Tapper quotes the relevant ASTM standards.

So, I ask again: What’s the hold up? Are the Coast Guard and BP using some standard other than ASTM (which would be odd)? If the switch to a universal connector was the only problem, why aren’t these booms on the way to the Gulf? Are there any other problems not mentioned?

Or are Washington and BP blowing smoke to cover for an initial and inexcusable lackadaisical response to the biggest environmental catastrophe in US history?

I don’t suspect we’ve heard the last of the Maine boom, by any means.

(via Jimmiebjr on Twitter)


When you’ve lost the Associated Press…

June 2, 2010

Wow. Check out the caption to this photo:

Because sending the president of the United States down to help clean up the mess with his bare hands wasn’t enough.

I’m not sure if the AP photographer  or the editor at New York Magazine wrote that, but, considering how deeply into the Cult of Obama both organizations were, it’s impressive.

I think it’s safe to say the marriage between Obama and the press, if not officially over, will soon be in divorce court.

(via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt)


BP means “Bastard Petroleum”

May 30, 2010

My God, if this story is true, then BP stands revealed as not just incompetent, but as lying sacks of you-know-what, too. From The New York Times:

Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig

Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.

The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered critical pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on the rig.

The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.

On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.

“This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”

The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards. The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception. BP documents released last week to The Times revealed that company officials knew the casing was the riskier of two options.

As the article goes on to say, these pukes from BP testified before a panel composed of Coast Guard officers and officials from the Minerals Management Service that they didn’t think BP was “taking risks.” And yet the documents show they knew of serious problems well before the blowout. They told baldfaced lies to the board and may well have lied in their testimony to Congress, too.

This is appalling. Like the mad scientist in an old movie who forges on with his insane project in the face of all the warning signs, these idiots ignored clear signals that they had a serious problem on their hand, and now the Gulf of Mexico and the states bordering it are paying a terrible price for BP’s folly.

Not only should BP be civilly liable for every penny of the damage done, but I hope to God the Department of Justice and the State of Louisiana go after these rat-turds in criminal actions, too.

(via Allahpundit)

Mark E. Hafle

The anger in New Orleans

May 28, 2010

Radio host Garland Robinette rips everyone outside Louisiana for the what’s befallen his state:

Can’t say I blame him.


Obama’s Katrina? Oh, yeah.

May 28, 2010

It’s already become a cliche to say that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has become President Obama’s “Katrina,” a reference to the political harm done to George W. Bush over a perception of fecklessness, indifference, and incompetence in response to the 2005 hurricane that struck New Orleans. In Bush’s case, while some of the criticism was deserved (Brown’s appointment at FEMA, for example), the 1988 Stafford Act (PDF), section 401, made clear that the initial responsibility for disaster response laid with local and state authorities, who had to execute their plans before invoking Federal aid. Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco failed at this. But, thanks to Democratic demagoguery and a hysterical press, all blame was dumped on Washington. Fair or not, that was the political reality.

In the current disaster, however, all the blame now finally starting to be hurled at the Obama administration is merited. For this type of disaster, the 1990 Oil Pollution Act makes the Federal government the lead agency:

Many believe that there were lost opportunities in the immediate aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill to help contain the damage. For example, the oil sat around the grounded tanker off the Alaskan coast for several days before it was blown toward coastal areas and caused onshore environmental damage. But conflicting state and federal actions stymied the cleanup efforts and slowed the initial response to the spill.

Congress concluded that the existing response protocol was poorly coordinated. One of the goals of the Oil Pollution Act was to clarify the lines of authority in the immediate aftermath of a spill so that the response can be swift and effective. The statute also beefed up preparedness measures in anticipation of spills and created a liability scheme for the government’s cleanup costs and to injured third parties for damages.

The act authorizes the President to either federalize the spill or oversee the cleanup efforts of the responsible private party or parties. Spills in coastal waters are handled by the Coast Guard, while the Environmental Protection Agency handles inland spills. In the case of Deepwater Horizon, the President delegated authority to the Coast Guard, which in turn coordinates efforts with other federal agencies and state officials as well as BP and other private parties. The Coast Guard has at its disposal the resources to address spills.

More than a month into the disaster, the administration’s feckless, indifferent, and incompetent response to a problem over which it has clear statutory authority has caused it to be hammered in public opinion and even the media, the latter of which normally fawns over anything “Obama.”

And the administration’s opponents are taking advantage of this. Via Ed Morrissey, this web ad from the NRSC slamming Obama over his handling of the oil spill is devastating, especially when it quotes leading Democrats and the President’s own words:

(And I never, ever thought I’d find myself sympathizing with James Carville.)

So, to answer the initial question of whether this is “Obama’s Katrina,” I’d have to say a qualified “yes.” Yes, because it’s a disaster feeding a perception of incompetence that’s starting to cost him politically, even though the press is only belatedly starting to take him to task. Qualified, because we don’t know yet if this will cause a permanent negative change in public perception, as Katrina did for President Bush.

RELATED: Former Governor Sarah Palin, who was intimately involved with the beginning and end of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, breaks out the industrial nightstick on Obama:

Nearly 40 days in, our President finally addressed the American people’s growing concerns about the Gulf Coast oil spill. Listening to today’s press conference, you’d think the administration has been working with single-minded focus on the Gulf gusher since the start of the disaster. In reality, their focus has been anything but singular to help solve this monumental problem.

If the President really was fully focused on this issue from day one, why did it take nine whole days before the administration asked the Department of Defense for help in deploying equipment needed for the extreme depth spill site?

Why was the expert group assembled by Energy Commissioner Steven Chu only set up three weeks after the start of this disaster?

Why was Governor Jindal forced more than a month after the start of the disaster to go on national television to beg for materials needed to tackle the oil spill and for federal approval to build offshore sand barriers that are imperative to protect his state’s coastline?

Why was no mention of the spill made by our President for days on end while Americans waited to hear if he grasped the import of his leadership on this energy issue?

Boom.

Read the whole thing. If Sarah Palin has one undoubted area of expertise, it’s in the oversight of natural resource development and regulation, and in dealing with oil companies. Her experience here dwarfs that of the President and his top cabinet officials. While false pride would keep him from ever giving her a spotlight that would inevitably shine badly on him, he could go a long way to getting this under control by making her the “Oil Clean-up Czarina.”


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