22 July 2010

Remainders and TKGOTW 

Giving it to you Thursday because I'll be off the internet for a couple of days as I head out of town tomorrow.

First, well, Tropical Storm Bonnie. Yep, that sort of sucks.

Also David Vitter and Charlie Melancon are throwing around some radically different polling numbers so that they can raise money. If you're following this race I encourage you to use your heads. Of course David Vitter is "leading" the horse race, but probably not by twenty points. I personally don't think Melancon has what it takes to win this thing, but I don't think that it's outside of the realm of reality. Any day now something new about what a scumbucket David Vitter is could come out, thus increasing Melancon's chances.

Your time killing game of the week comes from fellow poster AhQuoi, who suggested this one to me last weekend. I suck at it, because I'm not good with straight lines on the stupid finger pad mouse on my laptop. But it's quite fun. Not surprised it was suggested by an engineer.

And then there are these dirty redneck hipsters who I have to deal with this weekend. Wish me luck.

Oh dear lord 

I don't even know where to start with this.

21 July 2010

Didn't make it! 

Today's Rally for Economic Survival was a real barn burner. I didn't make it, but followed it via the live-tweeting of Amanda McElfresh, local reporter for the daily in town.

Typical reporting on this event is available here and here. I'll quote from the Associated Press. It's generally an excellent report on the event minus the President Obama bashing that seemed to characterized the "live-tweet" I witnessed in real time. I'll quote extenively and will bold a few particular points, because I feel they need to be addressed.

T-shirts with slogans like "Drill Baby Drill" and "No Moratorium" were common sights in Lafayette on Wednesday as thousands of people rallied against the federal moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.


In addition to the deepwater moratorium, Jindal said state Department of Natural Resources data shows permits for shallow water drilling have slowed since the spill began.

"It's ironic that the only drilling going on is BP," Jindal said, referring to relief wells the company is drilling at the spill site.


The "Rally for Economic Survival," orchestrated by a coalition of business organizations, was set in the heart of Louisiana's oil patch, where thousands of jobs are tied to oil companies or companies that serve them.


Despite the rhetoric, industry experts say a feared exodus of deepwater rigs from the Gulf hasn't yet materialized, and that the business would quickly rebound once the ban expires.

I'm a big supporter of the moratorium. Maybe not in it's current form, but I've argued what I believe is a compelling case for the moratorium in this space previously. I'm going to break down things a bit more now, and will refer back to several of the issues raised in this article to make a few points.

First is a period of analysis to determine what happened on the Deepwater Horizon and a work stoppage that will affect a fraction of the total Oil & Gas industry operations in the state a rational response to what is widely being considered one of the greatest environmental industrial accidents in the history of the United States?

Is it rational to react to the above stated event with a giant rally to argue against said work-stoppage and cries to "Drill Baby Drill" at every opportunity?

Let's reiterate that we still don't know exactly what caused the explosion that opened up the monster at the floor of our Gulf. While we have spent a lot of time blaming BP (rightly) for this tragedy, there are several actors in this situation who have yet to be adequately examined for their role in the disaster. The fiasco with the Transocean testimony today is evidence of this.

As Tuesday's hearing drew to a close, lawyers for all four witnesses who had been scheduled to testify Wednesday notified the board that those witnesses were declining to appear. The witnesses, from Transocean, had been slated to discuss the blowout preventer. They were issued subpoenas, but the board could not compel them to appear because they did not reside within the geographic jurisdiction of the investigation, the board said in a statement.

The fear that a rollback of activity in the Gulf will lead to the destruction of the state economy is a rational reaction to a terrifying national economic situation. It is also a rational reaction for a generally oil & gas reliant local economy against any restriction or regulation against operations. However, that doesn't change the fact that it is an irrational reaction to the current events as a whole. It overstates the economic impact of the stoppage and it understates the extent of the damage that continues to be foisted upon us.

I'll have more on this over the next few days, but it's getting late. The key thing to remind everyone of is that as long as oil exists underneath the waters that wash up on our shores, someone will be willing to extract it. As the AP article referenced above mentions, renewed drilling will begin pretty quickly once a moratorium ends. The real problem these oil companies have AT THIS moment is not knowing what their work stoppage is. They actually can't make a decision to leave or go because they don't really know if legal efforts can get them working again. We'd actually be doing them a favor if we said honestly, "hey, we need 3 weeks, 18 months, 6 years, whatever" and let them decided how to handle their operations. It's costly for them to have rigs that they could move elsewhere to produce just sitting there.

Let's be honest. The jobs being "produced" by deepwater drilling didn't exist four years ago. Our economy wasn't in the tank then, and most of the growth in this sector has come over the last 24 months. While it has helped us "buck" some national employment trends over the last year, we shouldn't let the industry hold us hostage against the true long-term interests of our economic, cultural, and environmental health.

Our oysters were drowned in fresh water 

For Oysters, a 'Remedy' Turned Catasrophe

I apologize if this is old news to many of you, but I just learned about this unfortunate repercussion of the emergency actions taken by the Jindal administration in the first days of this oilspill cluster*&^#. Seems that the "throw everything we can possibly imagine at it" approach probably wasn't best, and resulted in the 80% die-off of LA oyster beds. I know, hindsight is 20/20, but quickly consulting the many readily available experts on this probably would have been wise (they did get approval from the Corps though, of course).

20 July 2010

Perhaps Traylor's dirtbaggedness will call Vitter's into question 

Total dirtbag. I'd love to see a "values" debate between Vitter and Traylor. It would be like the dueling banjos of shitbaggery.

[update follows] Monroe's News Star was on this yesterday. Giving up on Gannet as I have I didn't see this.

Liberal blogs I don't follow the way I used to were also talking about it.

There is something to be said that Cathy Hughes report doesn't even mention Vitter's clear prostitution problem even as background.

The Sleeping Giant Awakes 

Grandmaster Wang posts again.

I used to dream of posting Saints commentary as intelligent and generally hilarious as what is commonplace at Moosedenied.com. We're less than a month away from preseason games, but I think I'm looking forward to Wang's insight more than the blah that will be training camp and preseason.

Except of course that glorious weekend when Rickey Jackson is enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

More Rally for Self-Mutilation 

Mother Jones calls out the Rally for Economic Survival as an astroturf event. It's mostly speculation, but does catch LOGA vice-president Don Briggs in some dishonesty about the genesis of the project.

Yet Briggs was hard-pressed to elaborate on the rally's grassroots ties. At first he said the idea had come from "an engineer and his wife and family" and Ewell Smith, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. But when I called Smith, he gave me a different story. "The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association approached me," he said. "A friend of mine did an introduction to some of the folks in the industry, and the next thing you know they were reaching out to me to speak at this event and asked me to coordinate putting it together."

"Well, I mean, you know, that may have been the case," Briggs replied when I called him back. "It happened sort of so fast." He added that the idea for the rally came out of a meeting with 30 people held at LOGA's Baton Rouge office. But he was still confident that the petroleum engineer, CJ McDonald, and somebody named Becky Plummer had raised the idea of a rally before LOGA did. I was unable to reach either of them for comment.

In other news I may actually make the event. Several of our clients are going to be there because we are vendor to several local oil and gas service companies. Our marketing guy is going, but I may go too. My primary objective would be to client service, but I could take the opportunity to take some notes as well. I'm too busy for snark, though, so it's unlikely.

[updated immediately to add hyperlink on "astroturf."]

19 July 2010

More doubt 

I am not an engineer. I'm not a geologist. In an excellent report by some Miami Herald writers we get an account about the debate going on between BP and the US Coast Guard:

Allen gave no details on the size or exact location of the seeps, except to say that one was detected within two miles of the site, another within 80 yards and several others within a few hundred yards.


Ian MacDonald, a biological oceanographer at Florida State University who has been researching natural oil seeps in the Gulf for more than 20 years, said the "blurry" videos he has seen broadcast and posted online and the information supplied by Allen and BP remain "somewhat inconclusive."

"From what I've seen, this isn't the smoking gun," said MacDonald, who was among the first scientists to argue that BP and the federal government were grossly low-balling initial flow estimates.

MacDonald goes on to say that the risks of taking the cap off are worse than continuing with the well integrity testing/capping the well deal that's going on now.

Meanwhile my local rag put a couple of reporters on the moratorium beat for the Sunday edition this week. They are uncritically opposed to the moratorium, but it's actually much better reporting than I'm used to from The Daily Advertiser. It's worth the read if you're in to it. Unfortunately I can't link you to it tonight because I don't care to navigate their shitty website. Both articles were on the front page of yesterday's print edition.

The New Normal? 

From a comment to one of Jeffrey's posts... FP questioned whether this was the new "oil rain." The oil rain stuff was obviously ridiculous, but I'm not so sure of this. I'd like some more information about what's dangerous to beachgoers, but this is some disturbing stuff.

I most definitely don't want to dip my balls in that.

18 July 2010

Less Optimistic! 

The summer of oil is apparently characterized by disappointment and despair.

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