Daily Archive: 08/15/2011

Aug 15 2011

So you want to Drill in the Arctic

Somewhat flying under the radar even in Blogtopia (yes, Skippy invented that) and here in the People’s Republic of Left Blogistan is the big blowout at the Royal Dutch Shell Gannet Alpha Platform (one of 7 pumping oil from the Gannet Field which drills into the Eocene, Palaeocene and Jurassic period).

The story goes something like this-

Shell has been having cronic problems with breakdowns with its Brent (another oil field in the North Sea and namesake of the ‘Brent Crude’ financial benchmark) platforms that shut down all 4 of them after the discovery of severe maintenance problems including extensive gas leaks at the Brent Delta platform and actual factual chunks of the platform falling off into the Sea at Brent Bravo.

Indeed, on their very own official site an anonymous (though available for interview) expert says-

Experts damning comment on Shell North Sea Oil Spill

by John Donovan

Aug 13th, 2011

Comment from a Shell North Sea Platform Safety & Maintenance Expert on the current oil spill near the Gannet Alpha Platform

…another example of reactive maintenance regime, i.e. allowing, through neglect, equipment to fail and then reacting to the failure rather than, as the Safety Case for Gannet prescribes, preventing failure in the first instance by application of appropriate maintenance, inspection and monitoring.

(Expert in question may be available to the media for comment)

RELATED ARTICLES

What happened at Gannet Alpha was a leaky flow pipe which goes from the wellhead to the platform.  The problem is “under control” at the moment, they have shut off the well head and are undertaking repairs on thttps://thestarshollowgazette.com/he flow pipe.

Even though it it is dwarfed by the continuing disaster that is the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill which dumped about 5 Million Barrels into the Gulf of Mexico, Gannet Alpha has released over 1,300 Barrels making it the largest in the North Sea for a decade.

And 1,300 is the conservative estimate.

Additionally Shell is under fire for not promptly reporting the accident which was reported last Wednesday.

Now if you are inclined to believe Shell’s protestations that this was a relatively minor incident and even Aberdeen which is far, far away will not suffer much damage because the spill will break up naturally, let me remind you this is the very same company that recently received a conditional go ahead from the Obama Administration to drill three exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea “even though the Interior Department has not yet approved the company’s plan for responding to a catastrophic oil spill.”

The editorial published by the Los Angeles Times August 10th, 2011 and distributed by McClatchy-Tribune News Services continues on to say

Shell’s response plan contends that it can clean up 95 percent of spilled oil, an unprecedented percentage even in much less hostile environments. But the skimmers and booms that are usually employed to clean up spills don’t work effectively in waters with large amounts of floating ice. Nor is there any guarantee that Shell would be able to get disaster equipment to the wells. Canada’s National Energy Board recently reported that on one day out of five, conditions in the Arctic, including the Beaufort Sea, are too harsh to send out spill-response teams. Meanwhile, the nearest Coast Guard station is 1,000 miles away, and the agency told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that it cannot be counted on to respond to spills off the North Slope.

Shell’s proposal must clear other hurdles before any drilling can take place. For example, the company must show other federal agencies that its activities would not harm polar bears or marine life. But the application shouldn’t have reached this point without a response plan that is realistic about the environmental dangers of seeking an energy future in the Arctic seas.

Aug 15 2011

So you want to Drill in the Artic

Somewhat flying under the radar even in Blogtopia (yes, Skippy invented that) and here in the People’s Republic of Left Blogistan is the big blowout at the Royal Dutch Shell Gannet Alpha Platform (one of 7 pumping oil from the Gannet Field which drills into the Eocene, Palaeocene and Jurassic period).

The story chronologically goes something like this-

Shell has been having cronic problems with breakdowns with its Brent (another oil field in the North Sea and namesake of the ‘Brent Crude’ financial benchmark) platforms that shut down all 4 of them after the discovery of severe maintenance problems including extensive gas leaks at the Brent Delta platform and actual factual chunks of the platform falling off into the Sea at Brent Bravo.

Indeed, on their very own official site an anonymous (though available for interview) expert says-

Experts damning comment on Shell North Sea Oil Spill

by John Donovan

Aug 13th, 2011

Comment from a Shell North Sea Platform Safety & Maintenance Expert on the current oil spill near the Gannet Alpha Platform

…another example of reactive maintenance regime, i.e. allowing, through neglect, equipment to fail and then reacting to the failure rather than, as the Safety Case for Gannet prescribes, preventing failure in the first instance by application of appropriate maintenance, inspection and monitoring.

(Expert in question may be available to the media for comment)

RELATED ARTICLES

What happened at Gannet Alpha was a leaky flow pipe which goes from the wellhead to the platform.  The problem is “under control” at the moment, they have shut off the well head and are undertaking repairs on thttps://thestarshollowgazette.com/he flow pipe.

Even though it it is dwarfed by the continuing disaster that is the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill which dumped about 5 Million Barrels into the Gulf of Mexico, Gannet Alpha has released over 1,300 Barrels making it the largest in the North Sea for a decade.

And 1,300 is the conservative estimate.

Additionally Shell is under fire for not promptly reporting the accident which was reported last Wednesday.

Now if you are inclined to believe Shell’s protestations that this was a relatively minor incident and even Aberdeen which is far, far away will not suffer much damage because the spill will break up naturally, let me remind you this is the very same company that recently received a conditional go ahead from the Obama Administration to drill three exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea “even though the Interior Department has not yet approved the company’s plan for responding to a catastrophic oil spill.”

The editorial published by the Los Angeles Times August 10th, 2011 and distributed by McClatchy-Tribune News Services continues on to say

Shell’s response plan contends that it can clean up 95 percent of spilled oil, an unprecedented percentage even in much less hostile environments. But the skimmers and booms that are usually employed to clean up spills don’t work effectively in waters with large amounts of floating ice. Nor is there any guarantee that Shell would be able to get disaster equipment to the wells. Canada’s National Energy Board recently reported that on one day out of five, conditions in the Arctic, including the Beaufort Sea, are too harsh to send out spill-response teams. Meanwhile, the nearest Coast Guard station is 1,000 miles away, and the agency told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that it cannot be counted on to respond to spills off the North Slope.

Shell’s proposal must clear other hurdles before any drilling can take place. For example, the company must show other federal agencies that its activities would not harm polar bears or marine life. But the application shouldn’t have reached this point without a response plan that is realistic about the environmental dangers of seeking an energy future in the Arctic seas.

Aug 15 2011

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Warren Buffet: Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

New York Times Editorial: A Jobs Agenda, Anyone?

In what can only be described as a triumph of bad policy and craven politics, Congress and the Obama administration have spent the year focused on budget cuts, as the economy has faltered and unemployment has worsened. Official unemployment is 9.1 percent, but it would be 16.1 percent, or 25.1 million people, if it included those who can only find part-time jobs and those who have given up looking for work. For the past two and a half years, there have been more than four unemployed workers for every job opening, a record high, by far. In a healthy market, the ratio would be about one to one.

By a large margin, Americans have told pollsters that job creation is more important than budget cuts. Yet Republican leaders are wedded to austerity and appear to think that high unemployment will hurt President Obama politically more than it will hurt them, so they will likely resist efforts to create jobs, no matter how great the need.

Paul Krugman: The Texas Unmiracle

As expected, Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, has announced that he is running for president. And we already know what his campaign will be about: faith in miracles.

Some of these miracles will involve things that you’re liable to read in the Bible. But if he wins the Republican nomination, his campaign will probably center on a more secular theme: the alleged economic miracle in Texas, which, it’s often asserted, sailed through the Great Recession almost unscathed thanks to conservative economic policies. And Mr. Perry will claim that he can restore prosperity to America by applying the same policies at a national level.

So what you need to know is that the Texas miracle is a myth, and more broadly that Texan experience offers no useful lessons on how to restore national full employment.

Matt Miller: Why the center-left is fed up with Obama

Here’s the thing. I know Tea Party Republicans were behind the debt-ceiling standoff that wreaked needless damage on confidence in the United States. I wrote weeks ago of Standard & Poor’s outrageous nerve in threatening a downgrade when America’s ability to pay its debts can’t possibly be in doubt. In short, I know who the real villains are at this volatile moment.

So why am I so mad at Barack Obama?

I know I’m not alone. In conversations with folks across the center-left in recent days, everyone’s basically had it with the president. I’ve had policy frustrations before: Obama’s never aimed high enough on school reform and he’s failed miserably to advance a real jobs agenda, to name just two. I’ve said repeatedly that we need a third party to shake things up. But at the same time a part of me has always cut the president some slack – after all, look at the mess the man walked into! Yet somehow the debt-ceiling fiasco and the downgrade, punctuated by these horrific jobs numbers and stock market gyrations, has made something in me (and, I suspect, millions of others) snap.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Shiny Happy Corporate People

Mitt Romney got a lot of press for telling a heckler at the Iowa State Fair that “corporations are people.” He did not go on to sing that Patti Smith song, People Have the Power.

But corporate “people” certainly do. Their power was on display this week, both in Washington and among the Republicans campaigning for the nomination.

John Nichols: Bernie Sanders Talks Up Primary Challenge to Obama as ‘a Good Idea for Our Democracy and for the Democratic Party’

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders continues to argue that a Democratic primary challenge to President Obama would be “good for democracy and for the Democratic Party.”

Sanders will not be a candidate. The Vermont independent, who caucuses with Senate Democrats, is running for re-election in 2012.

But Sanders, who has been sharply critical of Obama’s compromises with the Republican right on economic and fiscal policy, continues to talk up the idea of a primary challenge as a vehicle to pressure the president from the left. He is not alone. Ralph Nader is actively encouraging a primary race. And one-third of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents tell pollsters that they favor a primary challenge to the president, while just 59 percent oppose such a run.

Ben Adler: A Handful of Rural Right-Wing Extremists Chase Tim Pawlenty Out of the Race

A day after Saturday’s Iowa Straw Poll results came in-Michele Bachmann edged out Ron Paul, with Tim Pawlenty a distant third, just ahead of Rick Santorum and nobody Herman Cain-Pawlenty pulled the plug on his flagging presidential campaign. What does this tell us? That our system of nominating presidential candidates is badly broken, beholden to a small number of extremist party activists in a couple of arbitrarily chosen small, rural states and an unthinking media echo chamber.

The Iowa Straw Poll is not a nominating contest. No convention delegates are assigned there. It is a fundraiser for the Iowa state Republican Party. It is presumed to be significant because, according to campaign reporters like the New York Times’s Jeff Zeleny, it is “a test of organizing strength.” And organizing strength is considered an important capability in Iowa, where the anti-democratic caucus system depresses turnout relative to a normal primary. Since only hardcore activists will participate in the caucuses and they must be cajoled to the polls, the mind-numbing process of identifying and turning out every last supporter in Ottumwa County is a crucial component of campaigns to lead the free world. What this skill has to do with, say, balancing the federal budget is unclear. The mainstream media, meanwhile, reports on this ludicrous state of affairs as if it were an objective fact rather than a product of their own unhealthy obsession with Iowa. (After all, Iowa still only assigns a small number of delegates. If the media treated it like comparably sized Mississippi, the importance of who wins there would vanish.)

Robert Reich: Why the New Healthcare Law Should Have Been Based on Medicare (And What Democrats Should Have Learned By Now)

Remember the health-care debate? Congressional Republicans refused to consider a single-payer system that would automatically pool risks. They wouldn’t even consider giving people the option of buying into it.

The President and the Democrats caved, as they have on almost everything. They came up with a compromise that kept health care in the hands of private insurance companies. The only way to spread the risk in such a system was to require everyone to buy insurance.

Which is exactly what the two appellate judges in Atlanta objected to. The Constitution, in their view, doesn’t allow the federal government to compel citizens to buy something. “Congress may regulate commercial actors,” they wrote. “But what Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die.”

Most Americans seem to agree. According to polls, 60 percent of the public opposes the individual mandate. Many on the right believe it a threat to individual liberty. Many on the left object to being required to buy something from a private company.

Aug 15 2011

Nero Fiddles

Roubini: "capitalism could self destruct"

by Chris in Paris, Americablog

on 8/13/2011 06:10:00 PM

If you have a spare 22 minutes it’s well worth it. Roubini believes that the chances for a double dip are above 50%.

Economists’ outlook darkens: See 30% chance of recession

By Paul Davidson and Barbara Hansen, USA TODAY

8/15/11

The 39 economists polled Aug. 3-11 put the chance of another downturn at 30% – twice as high as three months ago, according to their median estimates.



Yet even if the USA avoids a recession, as economists still expect, they see economic growth muddling along at about 2.5% the next year, down from 3.1% in April’s survey. The economy must grow well above 3% to significantly cut unemployment.

As a result, the economists predict the jobless rate will fall painfully slowly, dipping to 8.8% in 12 months, not much below today’s 9.1%. In April, they estimated unemployment would be 8.2% by mid-2012.

Aug 15 2011

On This Day In History August 15

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 15 is the 227th day of the year (228th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 138 days remaining until the end of the year.

While there were many significant events that happened on August 15, the most delightful and happily remember is Woodstock. Not many of my Baby Boomer generation remember that today Emperor Hirohito announced the unconditional surrender of Japan or that East Germany began the building of the Berlin Wall or that Malcolm slain Macbeth, it was peace, love and Rock N’ Roll in the mud with a lack of sanitary facilities but lots of music from some of the best at the Woodstock Festivalduring the weekend of August 15 to 18, 1969. The site was a dairy farm in West Lake, NY near the town of Bethel in Sullivan County, some 43 miles southwest from the actual town of Woodstock in Ulster County. During that rainy weekend some 500,000 concert goers became a pivotal moment in the history of Rock and Roll.

Peace, Drugs and Rock N’Roll. Rock On.

Aug 15 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for August 14, 2011-

DocuDharma

Aug 15 2011

Pique the Geek 20110814: Tin, Less Common than You Think

One metal that we take for granted is tin, something that most of us see and handle every day in the form of “tin” cans, long used to store food.  Actually, this invention dates only from the early 1800s when canning itself was invented, although tin plated iron and steel date back much earlier.

Tin is used it lots more than cans, however.  Much of the tin used today is in the form of solder, used for joining other metals, particularly copper and brass, together.  Formerly a 1:1 by mass mixture of tin and lead was used for soldering copper water pipes, but because of increased awareness of the dangers of lead, other solder compositions are now used for potable water.

Let us take a few minutes to explore this interesting metal.

Aug 15 2011

Hedge Fund Manager: US In Need Of Massive Stimulus

Back in July, Barton Biggs, a hedge fund manager for Traxis Partners, said that the U.S. needs to invest in a massive public works program, and rich people and corp’s should pay more taxes. Perhaps President Obama, Secretary Tim Geithner and all those who think that spending and tax cuts are the right path should listen to this.

Aug 15 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US, Saudis demand Syria halt crackdown

AFP

19 hrs ago

US President Barack Obama demanded Damascus “immediately” halt its crackdown on protesters, as activists said Syrian troops killed at least three people in raids on Latakia and other towns.

Obama and Saudi King Abdullah in a telephone call expressed their “shared, deep concerns about the Syrian government’s use of violence against its citizens,” the White House said.

“They agreed that the Syrian regime’s brutal campaign of violence against the Syrian people must end immediately.”

Aug 15 2011

The Proper Use of Garnishes

I am totally bored with the news today. Like Jeralyn at TalkLeft there is little being reported except about Republicans and, like her they are just not interesting to me. They’re all clowns, felons or religious zealots. Jeralyn lucked out going to her local farmers’ market, but due to the weather here I couldn’t go for a walk on the beach. I can’t even get off the street because the intersection is under about 4 feet of water, the choice is row boat or SCUBA today.. So I surfed the net this afternoon for entertainment.

When I was back in college and in between jobs, I waited tables and tended bar. Not bad money back in ’72 – ’73, it helped pay the bills. One of the things I was very attentive about were garnishes for drinks, like lemon twists, maraschino cherries (UGH!) and olives. I’m rather observant about what goes on behind the bar and rather particular about my drinks, vodka martinis being my favorite, so when Rachel Maddow did a segment on her show about drink garnishes, I chuckled. Her rant on garnishes started because of red bees in Brooklyn, NY that had been getting into the Red Dye #40 laced cherry juice at the factory where the cherries are made. Her objections extended to olives which have “conceivably been lying out festering in their own juices in a warm room all night, with fingers on them.” Well, while the alcohol kills a lot of germs, I usually peek behind the bar to see how the garnishes are kept. The better places keep them in trays over ice with little tongs or picks. Her take on lemon twists was pretty clear, it’s there to add some flavor, “It has a job to do, and that job is not to be eaten!”. The moral of her lecture was “Don’t Eat the Garnish” and hold the maraschino cherries.

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