US News

Saturday Afternoon Gulf Update

  • Posted on: 24 July 2010
  • By: Open Thread

 

Via the New York Times,

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HOUSTON — As Tropical Storm Bonnie weakened to a mere tropical depression over the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, a drilling rig and about a dozen other ships working to repair the crippled Macondo oil well reversed course and began heading back to the well site.

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Well, that's good news. We hope.

So, how's things going, folks? It's awfully quiet out there...

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Saturday Morning Open Thread: Gulf Gushers and Tropic Systems Edition

  • Posted on: 24 July 2010
  • By: Open Thread

 

In the Gulf of Mexico, spill response vessels leave the Macondo drilling area in advance of an approaching and potentially problematic Tropical Storm Bonnie:

Meanwhile, the former Deepwater Horizon chief electronics technician Michael Williams testified that an alarm system designed to automatically alert the crew and prevent combustible gases from reaching potential sources of ignition had been deliberately disabled:

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Williams told the panel that he understood that the rig had been operating with the gas alarm system in "inhibited" mode for a year to prevent false alarms from disturbing the crew.

Williams said that when he discovered that the alarm system was inhibited, he reported it to supervisors. He said they informed him that orders were to keep it that way.

If the safety system was disabled, it would not have been unusual. Records of federal enforcement actions reviewed by The Washington Post show that, in case after case, rig operators paid fines for allegedly bypassing safety systems that could impede routine operations.

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Apparently, other critical were also impaired on the rig.

All in all, it was a far cry from what we might envision as being "operationally safe & secure" and certainly not anywhere close "regulationally compliant."

What's news in your neck of the woods? This is an Open Thread.

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Shorter Breitbart:

  • Posted on: 20 July 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

"I don't fact check at all":

Andrew Breitbart, who published the video clip of Shirley Sherrod's speech that led to her forced resignation, tells TPM he doesn't have the entire video either and that the clip came to him from a source already edited. But he's seen enough: "I think the video speaks for itself. The way she's talking about white people ... is conveying a present tense racism in my opinion. But racism is in the eye of the beholder."

"And you can't make me!"

Who can take anything Breitbart and his gonzo criminal journalists cronies writes or produces seriously when they act on right wing lunacy without even a cursory look at the background sources and the facts? Below the fold is some recent news from Jed Lewison at dKos.

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Did not take much digging on New Hampshire GOP candidate

  • Posted on: 20 July 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

to come up with possible links to hate groups. H/T to Electablog, and first the backgrounder on his campaign:

Ryan J. Murdough, a 30-year-old who says he works with children with special needs at a youth center, is running for a seat on the State House in New Hampshire's 8th District.

And he's doing it as a Republican.

The self-professed "racist" is also supported by the American Third Position, a hate-spewing organization designed to "represent the political interests of White Americans, because no one else will."

"For far too long white Americans have been told that diversity is something beneficial to their existence," Murdough wrote in a letter to the Concord Monitor.

...snip...

The Republican party in New Hampshire has made all efforts to distance itself from Murdough.

So far the only sign of distancing themselves I have seen is one statement in that article.

"Mr. Murdough is a despicable racist," party spokesman Ryan Williams told the Union Leader. "His racist views are abhorrent and he is not welcome in the New Hampshire Republican Party."

I suspect there will be more statements of distancing from more New Hampshire GOP spokespeople as this story goes national. Below the fold... A couple of nuggets gleaned from the notoriously racist stormfront website:

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What can you glean from a big story?

  • Posted on: 19 July 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

Sometimes the Big Story of the day is interesting enough on its own, as the turtle media pokes its head out of its shell once in a while:

A hidden world, growing beyond control

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

And while the story itself promises to go down a lot of big and interesting rabbit holes:

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Yes, West Virginia, There is a Senator

  • Posted on: 16 July 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

Maybe???

Gov. Joe Manchin is tapping former chief counsel Carte Goodwin to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Democratic officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

Three people familiar with the governor's pick spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment ahead of an official announcement.

Manchin is scheduled to present his appointee at a press conference this afternoon at the Capitol.

Regardless of if it is Goodwin, whomever picked would just be a temp until November when they would have a vote for someone to finish out the last two years of the late Robert C. Byrd's term.

(h/t to AMERICAblog, who, by the way, are doing some great work following the DADT story on AMERICAblogGAY)

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Smoking Out The "Glenn Beck For President" Lobby

  • Posted on: 13 July 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

Maybe? I am not saying for certain that she is fronting another in a long line of AstroTurf groups for the GOP and corporate interests... But take a look and decide for yourself. For all I know, she may just be as crazy as her movement and video implies?

First, and via Gawker, we get this little bit of giggle:

The Time Has Come to Make Glenn Beck President, Says Clown Lady

Most Americans want Glenn Beck to be our next president and return us to prosperity. The only hiccup? Getting him to run! Fortunately, the clown lady in this video is circulating a petition to change all that.


Her name is Robin Potwora, and the website for her "grassroots organization," Main Street Bites Back, features a number of terrifying robot-voiced videos of illustrated political figures, including the hated Barack Obama.

Aside from this "grassroots" clown gig? Well, given the Torrington, Connecticut address on "Main Street Bites Back" contact page and the name to go with it... I think it is safe to say that she may just be tied to some  very right wing and typical "grasstroots" lobbying money...

The Tobacco Industry to be precise:

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Nephew of Justice Thomas Tased and Beaten

  • Posted on: 9 July 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

From Raw Story:

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is reportedly "outraged" after security guards at a New Orleans-area hospital were accused of punching and tasing his epileptic nephew, a news report states.

Derek Thomas was admitted to West Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Thursday, after a possible suicide attempt, reports ABC affiliate WGNO.

When the Supreme Court justice's nephew refused to put on a hospital gown and said he wanted to leave the hospital, doctors ordered security to restrain him.

Security guards "punched him in his lip, pulled out more than a fistful of his dreadlocks and tasered him to restrain him," a statement from Thomas' family said.

Best wishes to the Thomas family and I hope his nephew, who suffered massive epileptic seizures after the incident, will be ok. The ABC video report below the fold.

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But what about defaulting on those sacred contracts, California GOP?

  • Posted on: 8 July 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

Anyone who watched the Bank disaster/crimes/frauds unfold and saw these big CEOs and their GOP cohorts cry about the sanctity of the contracts guaranteeing vasts sums of (our government) money for their bonuses and salaries for destroying the economy has to be looking on at the GOP making a mockery of "The Sanctity of Contracts" as they ignore the salary requirements in the State workers employee contracts in order to drop their pay to minimum wage. What kind of activism from a judge do you have to have for them to consider the the outside influence of an incompetent state government and not factor in the awesomeness of the "The Sanctity of Contracts"?

Yes, I am simultaneously mocking the jokes that are the right wing's recent "sanctity of the contract"  and endless use of "judicial activism" talking points while spinning the closer to the truth story of using the elites disaster to destroy the little guys wages, across the nation we can witness this tactic being replicated, but below The Maddow Blog explains the excuses of why California courts say it is legal:

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The Five Flawed Choices of the Oilpocalypse?

  • Posted on: 14 June 2010
  • By: Unenergy

Just came across a post by emptywheel at Firedoglake who has put up a letter the Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Henry Waxman has written to BP regarding the decisions made by BP leading up to the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

BP’s Well Failure Due to Effort to Save $10 Million?

It lays out five choices which BP appear to have made which, had they taken a different route, one which did not appear to be focused on saving time and money alone, the destruction in the Gulf of Mexico may not have happened.

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Deepwater Chernobyl

  • Posted on: 10 June 2010
  • By: Unenergy

A while ago I watched a documentary on building the sarcophagus which encloses the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster site. I have unsuccessfully, tried to find that documentary as my recollection runs that the radioactivity released from the Chernobyl site was only able to be stopped by burying the reactor core in sand, concrete and an outer shell called a sarcophagus.

There seem to be parallels with the current Deepwater Horizon disaster in that we are witnessing once more that man is capable of unleashing uncontrollable forces in his pursuit of energy. Forces he had no contingency plan to deal with. Forces capable of devastating economies, destroying livelihoods and killing wildlife by contaminating the environment to such an extent that even people find they have to move away rather than suffer.

That the only way that we have to fix it once that bottle is uncorked, was to just bury it in concrete. In Russia the reactor core was covered in sand then concrete. In the Gulf of Mexico disaster, first mud was tried, but once the relief wells are drilled, it will be likewise be filled with concrete.

Based on this I went looking for supporting evidence to back up this initial premise, and am astounded by what I found.

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How do I explain ignorant bigots like Ike Skelton to my 7 year old child?

  • Posted on: 9 June 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

"I don't ever remember doing this" - Rig Survivor

  • Posted on: 8 June 2010
  • By: Unenergy

Rig survivors: BP ordered shortcut on day of blast

BP official wanted workers to replace heavy mud, used to keep the well's pressure down, with lighter seawater to help speed a process that was costing an estimated $750,000 a day and was already running five weeks late, rig survivors told CNN.

BP won the argument, said Doug Brown, the rig's chief mechanic. "He basically said, 'Well, this is how it's gonna be.' "

In the CNN interviews, the workers described a corporate culture of cutting staff and ignoring warning signs ahead of the blast. They said BP routinely cut corners and pushed ahead despite concerns about safety.

Remember 60 minutes had the interview with Mike Williams where he suspected this was the case.

Jed wrote about it here:

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