Thursday, May 6, 2010
by Greg Palast
I've seen this movie before. In 1989, I was a fraud investigator hired to dig into the cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Despite Exxon's name on that boat, I found the party most to blame for the destruction was ... British Petroleum (BP).
That's important to know, because the way BP caused devastation in Alaska is exactly the way BP is now sliming the entire Gulf Coast.
Tankers run aground, wells blow out, pipes burst. It shouldn't happen, but it does. And when it does, the name of the game is containment. Both in Alaska, when the Exxon Valdez grounded, and in the Gulf last week, when the Deepwater Horizon platform blew, it was British Petroleum that was charged with carrying out the Oil Spill Response Plans (OSRP), which the company itself drafted and filed with the government.
What's so insane, when I look over that sickening slick moving toward the Delta, is that containing spilled oil is really quite simple and easy. And from my investigation, BP has figured out a very low-cost way to prepare for this task: BP lies. BP prevaricates, BP fabricates and BP obfuscates.
That's because responding to a spill may be easy and simple, but not at all cheap. And BP is cheap. Deadly cheap.
To contain a spill, the main thing you need is a lot of rubber, long skirts of it called a "boom." Quickly surround a spill, leak or burst, then pump it out into skimmers, or disperse it, sink it or burn it. Simple.
But there's one thing about the rubber skirts: you've got to have lots of them at the ready, with crews on standby in helicopters and on containment barges ready to roll. They have to be in place round the clock, all the time, just like a fire department, even when all is operating A-O.K. Because rapid response is the key. In Alaska, that was BP's job, as principal owner of the pipeline consortium Alyeska. It is, as well, BP's job in the Gulf, as principal lessee of the deepwater oil concession.
Before the Exxon Valdez grounding, BP's Alyeska group claimed it had these full-time, oil spill response crews. Alyeska had hired Alaskan natives, trained them to drop from helicopters into the freezing water and set booms in case of emergency. Alyeska also certified in writing that a containment barge with equipment was within five hours sailing of any point in the Prince William Sound. Alyeska also told the state and federal government it had plenty of boom and equipment cached on Bligh Island.
But it was all a lie. On that March night in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef in the Prince William Sound, the BP group had, in fact, not a lick of boom there. And Alyeska had fired the natives who had manned the full-time response teams, replacing them with phantom crews, lists of untrained employees with no idea how to control a spill. And that containment barge at the ready was, in fact, laid up in a drydock in Cordova, locked under ice, 12 hours away.
As a result, the oil from the Exxon Valdez, which could have and should have been contained around the ship, spread out in a sludge tide that wrecked 1,200 miles of shoreline.
And here we go again. Valdez goes Cajun.
10. Total existence failure
You will need: nothing
Method: No method. Simply sit back and twiddle your thumbs as, completely by chance, all 200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms making up the planet Earth suddenly, simultaneously and spontaneously cease to exist. Note: the odds against this actually ever occurring are considerably greater than a googolplex to one. Failing this, some kind of arcane (read: scientifically laughable) probability-manipulation device may be employed.
Utter, utter rubbish.
9. Gobbled up by strangelets
You will need: a stable strangelet
Method: Hijack control of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island, New York. Use the RHIC to create and maintain a stable strangelet. Keep it stable for as long as it takes to absorb the entire Earth into a mass of strange quarks. Keeping the strangelet stable is incredibly difficult once it has absorbed the stabilizing machinery, but creative solutions may be possible.
A while back, there was some media hoo-hah about the possibility of this actually happening at the RHIC, but in actuality the chances of a stable strangelet forming are pretty much zero.
Earth's final resting place: a huge glob of strange matter.
8. Sucked into a microscopic black hole
You will need: a microscopic black hole. Note that black holes are not eternal, they evaporate due to Hawking radiation. For your average black hole this takes an unimaginable amount of time, but for really small ones it could happen almost instantaneously, as evaporation time is dependent on mass. Therefore you microscopic black hole must have greater than a certain threshold mass, roughly equal to the mass of Mount Everest. Creating a microscopic black hole is tricky, since one needs a reasonable amount of neutronium, but may possibly be achievable by jamming large numbers of atomic nuclei together until they stick. This is left as an exercise to the reader.
Method: simply place your black hole on the surface of the Earth and wait. Black holes are of such high density that they pass through ordinary matter like a stone through the air. The black hole will plummet through the ground, eating its way to the center of the Earth and all the way through to the other side: then, it'll oscillate back, over and over like a matter-absorbing pendulum. Eventually it will come to rest at the core, having absorbed enough matter to slow it down. Then you just need to wait, while it sits and consumes matter until the whole Earth is gone.
Highly, highly unlikely. But not impossible.
Earth's final resting place: a singularity of almost zero size, which will then proceed to happily orbit the Sun as normal.
Source: "The Dark Side Of The Sun," by Terry Pratchett. It is true that the microscopic black hole idea is an age-old science fiction mainstay which predates Pratchett by a long time, he was my original source for the idea, so that's what I'm putting.
Hey folks, Harry here and earlier today Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo dropped by my house with a package. Rodriguez is calling this his "Illegal" trailer. You see, Robert talked Fox into letting him put together a Cinco De Mayo message for ARIZONA - given. Well, the way things are in Arizona at this moment - it is kinda insane that there is a movie that was shot over a year ago waiting to be released that is about - THIS EXACT ISSUE... but if, Danny Trejo and buddies went Revolution Wacko as a result.
Make no bones about it, this is a pure Mexploitation film, but like real exploitation at its height, that shit was pulled straight out of the headlines, even sometimes slightly before the headlines were the headlines. Frankly - that's just kinda cool. We've all known about this silly fun project of Robert's for a while, but then... an entire fucking state just goes fucking nuts... And us being Texans - we're usually quite aware of the lunacy of our surroundings here. But really, ARIZONA... what the hell?
For your pure enjoyment here you go my friends, Happy CINCO DE MAYO! Spread this Everywhere!!!
If you can't see it above, go to...
West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd published an op-ed today aimed directly at the coal industry, and, although he doesn't use its name, Massey Energy, owner and operator of the Upper Big Branch coal mine, which recently killed 29 West Virginians and injured 2 others. Byrd, whose word carries great weight in Congress on coal matters, says that coal mining in West Virginia is a privilege that should not abused and that those that do abuse it should suffer the consequences.
First and foremost, the coal industry must respect the miner and his family. A single miner's life is certainly worth the expense and effort required to enhance safety. West Virginia has some of the highest quality coal in the world, and mining it should be considered a privilege, not a right. Any company that establishes a pattern of negligence resulting in injuries and death should be replaced by a company that conducts business more responsibly. No doubt many energy companies are keen for a chance to produce West Virginia coal.
Time will tell just how far Byrd is willing to go. If he really wants to hold coal's feet to the fire, he can support the comprehensive climate soon to be introduced in the Senate, a body he has called home for decades.
By Pat Garofalo
One of the many devastating results of the Great Recession has been the damage wrought on state budgets, which have led to dramatic cuts in education, including plenty of teacher layoffs. Part of this pain was alleviated by the economic stimulus package passed last year, but the depth and length of the recession means that many states are still in very bad shape.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has crafted a $23 billion bill meant to help states avoid making mass teacher layoffs, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised will reach the floor sometime. "We will be pushing hard for this in the Senate," Harkin said.
Thus far, Harkin has received no Republican support for his effort. When National Journal asked Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) if he would back the bill, he scoffed that he "couldn't imagine" a situation in which he would give a bill preventing teacher layoffs his blessing:
Another GOP member, Richard Burr of North Carolina, said he hadn't seen the bill but "couldn't imagine" he would support it, positing that it's not the role of the federal government to hire teachers.
Burr might want to spend some time imagining what teacher layoffs in his own state would look like. There are currently 3,700 fewer teachers working in North Carolina than there were last year, and cuts for the next school year "will be even worse."
To the children in The Third World; Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Congo and etc, who can't enjoy football freely because of poverty, war and natural disaster, having a football means a lot and can be a dream and hope to escape from their poor life.
However, the children are so poor that they can not buy a football. So, they play football with the ball made of plastic bag or a coconut palm leaves Therefore, giving them their own footballs which can give them hope, is our aim of this project.
We suggest this Dream Ball made of relief boxes delivered to those poor children by recycling.
A. Create patterns that can help making a ball on the surface of an aid box.
B. Activities of giving aid boxes to children in The Third World.
C. The used aid boxes will be recycled as a football by children with the patterns on boxes.
D. By making Dream Ball with the children together, the aid organizations will get the chance to be friendly with them.
The pictures on the Rentboy.com profile show a shirtless young man with delicate features, guileless eyes, and sun-kissed, hairless skin. The profile touts his "smooth, sweet, tight ass" and "perfectly built 8 inch cock (uncut)" and explains he is "sensual," "wild," and "up for anything" — as long you ask first. And as long as you pay.
On April 13, the "rent boy" (whom we'll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.
That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America's most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera.
Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)
Yet Rekers wouldn't deny he met his slender, blond escort at Rentboy.com — which features homepage images of men in bondage and grainy videos of crotch-rubbing twinks — and Lucien confirmed it.