May 16, 2010 archive

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Tube has limited success in containing US oil leak

by Clement Sabourin, AFP

1 hr 9 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – BP succeeded Sunday in capturing some oil and gas by inserting a mile-long tube into the main Gulf of Mexico leak, but did not say what percentage of the gusher was being contained.

A statement on the latest efforts to control the massive slick off Louisiana and stave off an environmental disaster said a tube had been inserted into the leaking pipe overnight and captured “some amounts of oil and gas.”

The process, which saw oil sucked up as if through a straw to a giant drill ship on the surface, comes after US President Barack Obama blasted the companies involved for seeking to shift blame and shirk responsibility.

Obama’s Offshore Military “Earth Day”

Basket stars, crinoids, anemone, and crab

Basket stars, crinoids, anemone, and crab (NOAA Deepwater Coral Expedition, Gulf of Mexico, 2009)

This is the unseen world imperiled by the uncapped oil well a mile below the surface of the gulf. The millions of gallons of crude, and the introduction of chemicals to disperse it, have thrown this underwater ecosystem into chaos, and scientists have no answer to the question of how this unintended and uncontrolled experiment in marine biology and chemistry will ultimately play out.

Some of the press may be wondering why we are announcing offshore drilling in a hangar at Andrews Air Force Base.  Well, if there’s any doubt about the leadership that our military is showing, you just need to look at this F-18 fighter and the light-armored vehicle behind me.  The Army and Marine Corps have been testing this vehicle on a mixture of biofuels.  And this Navy fighter jet — appropriately called the Green Hornet — will be flown for the first time in just a few days, on Earth Day.


War and Secrecy — Secrets Here, Secrets There, Everywhere Secrets!!!! [Update!]


I am very glad to know that Seymour Hersh is shedding/exposing some light to the military dominance in all matters of war!   See Ministry of Truth’s Sy Hersh: “Battlefield Executions”. . . .

We’ve had “secret death squad executions” going on in Pakistan and Afghanistan for quite some time now, which were unbeknownst not only to our military, but, supposedly, even to Obama.  But, whether it’s secret or otherwise, we’ve just been killing people right down the line, Iraq, etc.  See Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan Revealed (Operated by the JSOC, US Joint Special Operations Command, which was Cheney’s original execution squad, if I’m not mistaken) and Death Squads in Afghanistan.  Just a couple of other examples of our secretive behavior.   Wonder if there’s any count on those activities?

Maybe, ‘Farming’ the Wind and Sun, CAN Work?

Wind Farm Makes Money While Rancher Sleeps

Grover, CO – CBS4 — Jan 25, 2008

Rancher George Ehmke said he was eager to be part of the wind project.

“Never dreamed we’d ever have anything like this out here,” Ehmke said. “We have been putting up with this wind all our life. We might as well make something off of it.”

There are 35 massive turbines now perched on his land. The blades spin almost constantly.


Old time ranchers had one use for the wind — to fill their stock ponds.

“Well we live in a changing world,” Ehmke said. “I’m just glad to see it. We’re using the wind for something besides pumping water.”


Ehmke said his payout from producing wind power will keep his family’s ranch profitable for the next generation.

“Yeah, I make money in my sleep I guess,” he said.

Nice ‘Work’, eh? … if you can get it.

You May Never See It Coming?

After a week away, here’s my advice: in news terms, you can afford to take a vacation.  When I came back last Sunday, New Orleans was bracing for tough times (again).  BP, a drill-baby-drill oil company that made $6.1 billion in the first quarter of this year and lobbied against “new, stricter safety rules” for offshore drilling, had experienced an offshore disaster for which ordinary Americans are going to pay through the nose (again).  News photographers were gearing up for the usual shots of oil-covered wildlife (again).  A White House — admittedly Democratic, not Republican — had deferred to an energy company’s needs, accepted its PR and lies, and then moved too slowly when disaster struck (again).

Okay, it may not be an exact repeat. Think of it instead as history on cocaine.  The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, already the size of the state of Delaware, may end up larger than the disastrous Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, and could prove more devastating than Hurricane Katrina.  Anyway, take my word for it, returning to our world from a few days offline and cell phone-less, I experienced an unsettling déjà-vu-all-over-again feeling.  What had happened was startling and horrifying — but also eerily expectable, if not predictable.


The State of the United States, 2010 edition!

In the spirit of Counry Joe & the Fish’s late 1960s rendition of “Fixin’ to Die Rag”, the following video will first invite laughter, followed by the inevitable, but disconcerting question, “Why does this all sound so familiar?”

The person posting this video provides some helpful clarification which is hopefully still accurate, reassuring us that Tastykakes and Little Debbie products are made in the U.S. and contain no harmful ingredients.

The poster also listed the following ten REAL reasons to avoid products made in China (good luck with meeting that resolution):

1. Products made with hazardous materials

2. Lack of quality control, monitoring, and safety regulations, plus corruption

3. Tainted food, deadly drugs, adulterated products

4. High levels of antibiotics and toxins in seafood

5. Exploitation of the Chinese workforce and use of child labor

6. Predatory pricing and unethical business practices

7. Massive industrialization at the expense of the environment

8. Deforestation and mining has destroyed the water supply in Asia

9. Chinese military manufactured goods

10. Manufacturing in forced (laogai) labor camps and prisons

The question we must also ask is, “How many of the above ten reasons apply to the United States as well?”  

Open Yell


For Your Consideration: Greenwald on Kagan

Glen Greenwald appeared this morning in ABC’s “This Week” moderated by Jake Tapper. He addresses Pres. Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, lack of record.

I can’t wait for Christiane Amanpour to take the helm.

h/t Jane Hamsher @ FDL

Axiom Conference

It is after all post America.…

The “State’s Rights” Debate

We had a interesting debate Friday night over Arizona’s right to enact laws as a matter of a State’s Right to autonomy on WWL Radio. My esteemed partner and I saw it very differently.


First of definition of terms, as I plan to employ them:

As a matter of distrusting my own choice of words, when the semantic point came up that the idea of “Federalism” meaning FOR State’s rights, I chose to wander over and pick up my copy of “The Federalist Papers” off our library shelf. I also googled and skimmed “The Anti-Federalist Papers” which were published at the time to make the case against a strong centralized government and arguing against ratifying the Constitution. It was the Anti-Federalists who made the Bill of Rights being the first act of Congress an absolute guarantee. Jefferson was a strong Federalist in believing that the Separation of Powers would ensure a Central Government that would create safeguards against the Federal Government becoming an entity with enough power to become abusive to individual State’s or Citizen’s welfare.

The Federalist Party; thereafter was a product of pro-banking, pro-business who wanted a fiscally stable strong central government. Hamilton’s centralized banking economic policies were opposed by Jefferson – the arguments were essentially elitism versus populism; but culminated moreso in the only Federalist President, John Adam’s creation of a tax subsidized standing military (Navy) and the creation of the “Alien and Sedition Act” …the very first shot in the effort to create a Unitary Executive. However Jefferson also penned the Ky & VA resolution, which supported State’s Rights should the Federal Government overstep its bounds. A sticky wicket this term.

So, consider my usage of the term “Federalist” in description of my views for this debate only, as the Jeffersonian argument for a Central Government, and as the opposing view of the “Anti-Federalist” State’s Autonomy arguers of that era. I am comfortable in my use of this term under this intended usage. I am not employing all of the nuances of Federalist’s platforms or views in this debate, rather using the most simplistic of usages.

Ok, that said, let us move on to the legalities and ethical questions surrounding these points of views in this present era.

Giant Plumes Of Oil In Deep Water

Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.

“There’s a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water,” said Samantha Joye, a researcher at the University of Georgia who is involved in one of the first scientific missions to gather details about what is happening in the gulf. “There’s a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column.”

The plumes are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, worrying scientists, who fear that the oxygen level could eventually fall so low as to kill off much of the sea life near the plumes.

Read the whole thing at:…

According to the AP:

Researchers Vernon Asper and Arne Dierks said in Web posts that the plumes were “perhaps due to the deep injection of dispersants which BP has stated that they are conducting.”

Meanwhile, BP began spraying undersea dispersants at that leak site and said the chemicals appear to have reduced the amount of surface oil.

This unprecedented use of chemical dispersants underwater, and the depth of the leak has created many unknowns regarding environmental impact, and researchers hurriedly worked to chart its effects.

Federal regulators on Friday approved the underwater use of the chemicals, which act like a detergent to break the oil into small globules and allow it to disperse more quickly into the water or air before it comes ashore.

The decision by the Environmental Protection Agency angered state officials and fishermen, who complained that regulators ignored their concerns about the effects on the environment and fish.

“The EPA is conducting a giant experiment with our most productive fisheries by approving the use of these powerful chemicals on a massive, unprecedented scale,” John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said in a news release

Of course, this has not been reported at our government’s and BP’s disinformational website :  .  

What a surprise.

a humble request…………

can you PLEASE give….


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