A few states have primaries today…may the best democrat win. Hopefully Cheney will go 0-3 for his endorsements. Speaking of Cheney, oil is still gushing out of a hole BP poked in the Gulf of Mexico. No wait, the execs said that a pipe is now siphoning off 1,000 barrels a day to the surface, a mile up. Lemme see, the best estimates put the amount of the oil pumped to the surface at 2% which still leaves…lemme calculate…98% still shooting into the water. WTF? Now what? Seems that the petroleum industry spends a ton o' money on perfecting drills but little or no on catastrophic blow outs. And let us not forget the people who died on Trans Ocean's floating rig. (Trans Ocean operates out of Switzerland...taxes y'know and no oceans to "trans"). Meanwhile BP is using a chemical "dispersant" to break up the oil. It is put out by a company on who's board sits BP. Funny, huh? It is still unknown how this chemical will affect the environment. The last time it was used in a similar instance was in Prince Edward Sound in Alaska. Workers on that spill complained of illnesses from respiratory to liver ailments afterwards. This science experiment in the gulf (since it doesn't seem the oil company knows exactly what to do) is continuing while the earth angrily gives up petroleum at an astonishing rate. There is told of a oil slick about ten miles wide below the surface of the water, down where the water gets very cold. Are you angry yet?

Money talks. Something is oily and fishy in the Mineral Mangement Service which operates on the "drill now, get permits later" principle for the oil companies.

The way it's supposed to work, if you or I want to add a porch on our home or expand the dining room to accommodate an extended family, we have to get a permit, pay for it and get it approved before we start construction. OK? That's what regular people in this country do. The reason we do this is because from time to time various city-government people come by for tea and to check on the work like it's up to code and the wiring won't blow up or catch on fire. It's a system, sometimes its an annoying system, but it seems to work as long as we're honest. So, it seems these deep water drillers go and start to drill and then ask permission and apply for the permits after starting. Instead of coming out to the rig to check it out, the government agency, you know the permit givers, trust the oil riggers to safety check themselves. They're big boys, they should know what can go wrong and of course, the government can really really trust them to do the right thing. (Didn't this happen with Wall Street?)

So many things that should not have gone wrong went very wrong on that gigantic rig. Fail-safe devices, weren't. Backups, didn't. President Obama signed an executive order yesterday to set up an independent commission to find out what really happened on the Trans Ocean rig. He was so right when he said he was disgusted at the display in front of the Senate hearing by the execs from Halliburton, TransOcean and BP "falling all over themselves" to blame someone else. If environmentalists can be believed, this tragedy could mess up the Gulf for a generation. Laying blame is one thing. I think the 75 million dollar cap on compensation is a joke. That is less than what BP makes in profits in a single day. Stopping the blow out and clean up are the most important issues right now. The blame of who dropped the ball for profit while the behemoth TransOcean rig was doing its thing is also on the list of "to do" items. I noticed that the head of MMS resigned around the time of the explosion. Whenever there is lots of money to be had, human life, safety and morality go flying out the window. (Are you listening Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship? Massey runs mines)

BP was involved in a Texas oil refinery explosion that killed 15 people in 2005. And the company seems to have foregone the safety systems that allow deep-water oil rigs off the coast in Northern Europe to avoid catastrophic accidents. So what's the problem here in the USA? Is it the tremendous amounts of money involved that grease the palms of politicians and permit issuers? That was a rhetorical question in case you missed it. Aren't you glad corporations are people? What a great life!

"Drill baby, drill" is such a stupid phrase. You know and I know, that oil is not the only way to get around. It will take some doing but I think we can do it. Maybe some good, not a lot, but some, can come out of this disaster. I sure hope so.

“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do” - W. Berry

And so it goes and goes and goes…


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Thom plus logo As the world burns, and more and more fossil fuels are being used every day planet-wide, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels passed 416 ppm this week at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. In the 300,000 years since the emergence of modern humans, carbon dioxide levels have never been this high.