April 19, 2011 archive

Recipe for Disaster: Deep Water Drilling

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Getting Wise to the Dangers of Drilling

Rachel Maddow notes that as the awareness of the inadequacies of the safety improvements in deep water drilling is growing, the Department of Interior had decided to stop issuing press releases when they grant drilling permits.

Experts fear another oil disaster

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – With everything Big Oil and the government have learned in the year since the Gulf of Mexico disaster, could it happen again? Absolutely, according to an Associated Press examination of the industry and interviews with experts on the perils of deep-sea drilling.

The government has given the OK for oil exploration in treacherously deep waters to resume, saying it is confident such drilling can be done safely. The industry has given similar assurances. But there are still serious questions in some quarters about whether the lessons of the BP oil spill have been applied.

The industry “is ill-prepared at the least,” said Charles Perrow, a Yale University professor specializing in accidents involving high-risk technologies. “I have seen no evidence that they have marshaled containment efforts that are sufficient to deal with another major spill. I don’t think they have found ways to change the corporate culture sufficiently to prevent future accidents.”

He added: “There are so many opportunities for things to go wrong that major spills are unavoidable.”

Regulation of Offshore Rigs Is a Work in Progress

By John M. Broder and Clifford Krauss

WASHINGTON – A year after BP’s Macondo well blew out, killing 11 men and spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the much-maligned federal agency responsible for policing offshore drilling has been remade, with a tough new director, an awkward new name and a sheaf of stricter safety rules. It is also trying to put some distance between itself and the industry it regulates.

But is it fixed? The simple answer is no. Even those who run the agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service concede that it will be years before they can establish a robust regulatory regime able to minimize the risks to workers and the environment while still allowing exploration offshore.

“We are much safer today than we were a year ago,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversees the agency, “but we know we have more to do.”

Oil industry executives and their allies in Congress said that the Obama administration, in its zeal to overhaul the agency, has lost sight of what they believe the agency’s fundamental mission should be – promoting the development of the nation’s offshore oil and gas resources. Environmentalists said the agency, now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, has made only cosmetic changes and remains too close to the people it is supposed to regulate.

Budget Proposal Creates Surplus in 2021

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A balanced budget with a surplus? No way not happening. Well it seems that there is a counter proposal by the Congressional Progressive Caucus that does just that.

The CPC proposal:

• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021

• Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program

• Protects the social safety net

• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

• Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)

What the proposal accomplishes:

• Primary budget balance by 2014.

• Budget surplus by 2021.

• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from

a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.

• Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline.

• Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021.

There was debate this morning in the House about the austerity budget put forward by Tea Party Rep. Paul Ryan’ (R-WI) that decimates Medicaid and Medicare. When Rep Keith Ellison asked  Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) when the Ryan budget plan would produce a surplus, Rokita was clueless:

   ELLISON: When does the Ryan budget create a surplus?

   ROKITA: The budget proposed and voted on by the committee – […]

   ROKITA: With responsible, gradual reforms to the drivers of our debt, like Medicare and Social Security, this budget will balance –

   ELLISON: I asked the gentlemen when the Ryan budget created a surplus. He could have given me a year. He didn’t. That’s because he’s probably embarrassed about when that is. Let me tell you when the Progressive Caucus comes to surplus: 2021. That is known as a responsible budget.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Ryan’s budget will not produce a surplus until 2040 (pdf). The Economic Policy Institute looked that the Progressive Caucus budget. Their analysis said that it who produce a $30.7 billion surplus in 2021 (pdf).

h/t to Travis Waldron at Think Progress


Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

President Obama’s Real Proposal (And Why It’s Risky)

Robert Reich

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The betting in the White House is that by 2014 the recovery will be in full force, and the economy will have grown so much that the ratio of deficit to the GDP will be in the range of 3 to 5 percent anyway. That means any across-the-board cuts wouldn’t have to be very deep.

Yet what are the chances of a booming recovery? The economy is now growing at an annualized rate of only 1.5 percent. That’s pitiful. It’s not nearly enough to bring down the rate of unemployment, or remove the danger of a double dip. Real wages continue to drop. Housing prices continue to drop. Food and gas prices are rising. Consumer confidence is still in the basement.

The underlying problem isn’t the budget deficit. It’s that so much income and wealth are going to the top that most Americans don’t have the purchasing power to sustain a strong recovery.

Until steps are taken to alter this fundamental imbalance – for example, exempting the first $20K of income from payroll taxes while lifting the cap on income subject to payroll taxes, raising income and capital gains taxes on millionaires and using the revenues to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit up to incomes of $50,000, strengthening labor unions, and so on – a strong recovery may not be possible.

Bright and shiny objects


crossposted from The Wild Wild Left

The crunch of the sand seemed intrusive to the pre-dawn still of the morning, as she dragged the row boat off of its little wooden dolly that served as a trailer for the riding mower. “If the mower didn’t wake up the world, this surely won’t,” she thought.

The little electric motor was blessedly quiet as she slipped around the first sand bar and headed out of the cove into the lake proper. The sky was still silver, the water inky with the beginnings of the fingerlets of mist striving to break free from the confines of their fellow molecules in the lake. It was already warm, going to be a scorcher. The air smelled soft and thick as the birds started announcing the arrival of the first light.

She cut the motor and drifted into the second sandbar at the point. She needed the stillness and to think. She slipped off the shirt and shorts covering her bathing suit and stepped off into the water. Water always felt like home. It brought the inner quiet that brought the clarity the city sounds always drove out. Out in the water, or in the woods; it was a different world, a world in which there was only you and the everything. It made one feel both infinitesimally small, and immeasurably connected.

There was no better place to be at the crossroads in your life.


Six In The Morning

Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq

By Paul Bignell Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world’s largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.

The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain’s involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair’s cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

And if the soul

Is to know itself

It is into a soul

That it must look:

The stranger and the enemy,

we’ve seen him in the mirror.

–George Seferis




Late Night Karaoke


Heinz ‘surprised’ by consumer group’s pasta sauce deception claims

from firefly-dreaming 18.4.11

This is an Open Thread

Essays Featured Monday the 18th of April:

begins the day in Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

Six Brilliant Articles! from Six Different Places!! on Six Different Topics!!!

                Six Days a Week!!!    at Six in the Morning!!!!

Monday Open Thoughts where i celebrate & discuss mrD’s job & inflation

in Gabriel D‘s Perfect Conversation discussion is centered on a Pain in the Neck


On Fighting To Win, Or, A Tale Of Two Kinds Of Democrats from fake consultant

The American People Ignored or Ignore? from Betsy L. Angert

from Timbuk3: The 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time!

Tonight #80  

The latest Pique the Geek from Translator Vinyl Records

join the conversation! come firefly-dreaming with me….

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