October 20, 2014
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

James Inhofe, Am-oily-can Idol

Sen. Inhofe Blocks Vote On Eliminating Spill Liablity Cap

By Siobhan Hughes, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) blocked an effort by a handful of Democrats Tuesday to establish an unlimited cap on damage claims that BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) and other companies would have to pay for spills, such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Republican said that eliminating a cap on damage claims “could very well shut out” even the biggest oil companies from drilling in U.S. coastal waters. He said that the cap, currently set at $75 million, “should be much higher” but that “plenty of time remains” to decide on an appropriate threshold.

As oil leaks from a broken BP pipe 5,000 feet beneath the Gulf of Mexico, lawmakers have come under increasing pressure over how high to raise the cap on damages. Earlier Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), who ran into criticism after being the first Republican to block a Democratic plan to raise the cap to $10 billion, said that “maybe it needs to be unlimited.”

Also Tuesday, U.S. Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli told a Senate panel that the cap should be removed entirely in some instances, arguing that the government needs to “ensure that there is no arbitrary cap on corporate responsibility for a similar major oil spill.”

He said that “for activities such as deepwater drilling, where there is a risk of a similar major oil spill, we think that there should not be that cap.”

Your Mullah’s Calling You

Each day brings fresh proof to my feeling that Orthodoxy of any kind is simply another word for Learning Disability.  It is in the nature of orthodoxy that one is discouraged to process new information objectively.  The world MUST be as previously learned.  Hence, new data, rejected, leaves the poor person, be it a driver, a doctor, or a politician, severely handicapped.

Three recent cases:

Rand Paul, big winner in the Kentucky Republican Primary immediately throws his campaign under the bus by revealing the seldom stated libertarian doctrine of limited government.  This would include the disavowal of things like Social Security, Medicare and the Civil Rights Act.  Things, LIBERAL IDEAS, that almost everyone in the country subscribes to.  But not Rand.

Then there’s Helen Ukpabio, the charismatic Nigerian witch hunter and subject of HBO doc. It seems that she has been instrumental in hundreds of witch burnings, torture, killings, usually of children, who are troubled or behave differently.  This week she brought her ideas to the US. She is suing those who are interceding on behalf of these children.

The Times:

“In a lawsuit, Ms. Ukpabio alleges that the state law infringes on her freedom of religion. She seeks 2 billion naira (about $13 million) in damages, as well as “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents” from interfering with or otherwise denouncing her church’s “right to practice their religion and the Christian religious belief in the existence of God, Jesus Christ, Satan, sin, witchcraft, heaven and hellfire.”

In other words, in the name of religious freedom, Ms. Ukpabio seeks a gag order on anyone who disagrees with her.”

The cherry on top is last night’s finale of Lost.  The viewers of this show have become accustomed to highly implausible plot situations that are resolved by even more improbable ones.  The final show was tuned in by millions eager to see how the group would be rescued (SPOILER ALERT here in case you have been waiting to see your recording of this) only to find that, yes they were rescued all right . . . but by God!  They all have a sentimental farewell in a church somewhere in the sky as the lead character’s dead father opens the church doors to the blinding light of Heaven.  Not one was left behind.

What a relief. Solving problems while being alive seems like such a drag by comparison.  Lots of people think like this when things get tough.  So, I’m sure glad TV is there to help them with the idea of death as a coping mechanism.

Haywire

From NPR today:

May 20, 2010

An independent scientist says the Gulf of Mexico oil spill appears to be even larger than he previously thought, based on analysis of a video released by the Senate. The video shows a dramatic gusher of oil coming from near the well’s ill-fated blowout preventer.

Steve Wereley went from being a respected but little known engineering professor at Purdue University to being the center of attention last week after he produced a startling new estimate of the size of the spill. Using a well-established scientific technique to measure flow from the biggest of three leaks near the seafloor, he determined that the flow coming out of the end of the pipe could be 10 times the size of the official figure.

Wereley has now analyzed video of a second leak. At a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, he said that leak alone appears to be bigger than the official estimate of 5,000 barrels a day.

“What I get is 25,000 barrels a day coming out of that tiny hole — that’s a 1.2-inch hole,” he said, adding that it seemed “incomprehensible.”

Wereley says the oil in this part of the pipe is under tremendous pressure. Add his current figure to last week’s estimate of about 70,000 barrels a day, and his total approaches 100,000 barrels a day. And, there’s another leak he has yet to analyze.

Wereley’s flow rate includes both gas and oil, so he says his figures may come down once he sees enough video to be able to quantify the amount of gas.

“But from what I see in the videos, I don’t see the numbers coming down that significantly,” he says.

Measuring Oil Flow

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) called Wereley to talk to his House Energy subcommittee after noting the huge discrepancy between Wereley’s numbers and BP’s oft-quoted estimate, which is based on a survey of oil on the ocean surface.

When asked Wednesday what the likelihood was that BP’s figures were accurate, Wereley said he didn’t see “any possibility, any scenario under which their number is accurate.”

Wereley told the committee he would like clean video from BP — and lots of it — in order to sort out how much of the flow is oil versus gas and to figure out if the flow has varied since it began nearly a month ago.

BP has started to provide more video to a Senate committee. But the oil company rejected a plan that would have produced an independent measure of the oil flow.

Richard Camilli of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution told the committee that he and a colleague had offered to put together an instrument for BP that uses sound waves to measure underwater oil flow. He said BP was interested for reasons related to broken equipment, not the environmental consequences. Camilli said he got an e-mail from BP at 3 a.m. May 5 essentially giving the thumbs up, but at 1 p.m. the next day, BP sent a message putting the project on hold.

BP said it was turning its attention to the containment dome, which was unsuccessful.

“Our team was thanked politely by BP representatives for our efforts, and I’ve had no further communication with BP since May 6,” Camilli said.

Camilli said he hoped to use the information about oil flow to help scientists measure the magnitude of a spill that’s not only on the surface of the ocean but also spreading deep underwater. “Understanding and knowing the total amount of oil that has been released is going to be critical so that we know how much was on the surface, we know how much remains subsurface, and we can track it and attempt to mitigate it.”

Priorities

BP’s position all along has been that it is making an all-out effort to contain the spill, so putting a number on the outflow isn’t a priority. Markey took issue with that.

“This faulty logic that BP is using, of course, is unfortunately raising real concerns that they are hiding the full extent of the potential damage of this leak,” he said.

Markey scored one small victory Wednesday: The Coast Guard told him he could post BP’s live video of the oil and gas spewing out of the pipe on his congressional website.

Duck Soup

BP announced that the oil spill was no accident, that they had been planning all along a brand new way to cook seafood and waterfowl.  By having all fowl and fish pre-oiled it will save time in the kitchen.  Millions will find themselves liberated by cutting prep time for supper. Now, at last they can find time in their day to watch those DVR recordings of Grey’s Anatomy.  Ken Salazar immediately hit on a way to monetize this for the Gulf Coast; open a chain of restaurants, the Bubba-Gunk Shrimp Co. The secretary dropped by at a grand opening yesterday.

The Last Harumph?