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Attitude Adjustment

May 28, 2010

Summer is coming, the seasons have again turned.
It seems a good time to adjust the attitude in kind.
Here’s a thread to fill with news and such

Wishing all a relaxed and enjoyable
long holiday weekend.

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    May 28, 2010 9:33 am

    This makes me laugh

    Someone searched google with the following phrase:

    geithner retarded spockish elf

    and they ended up on this blog. Hah! Mission accomplished ;-p

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 28, 2010 12:02 pm

      It beats mustant underwater lesbians. Well, maybe not.

      Yes, I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! after a brief hiatus due to a modem that was all chingada. And I must say, I expected you people to have solved all these various problems in my absence.

      • cometman permalink*
        May 28, 2010 12:22 pm

        Good to see you back! Sorry about the BP well not being fixed yet and all the other ongoing problems. We’re pretty good but we aren’t John Hodgman.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 28, 2010 12:17 pm

      Ha! That is too funny.

      I’m am going to be like Jeebus and have myself an attitude adjustment just as soon as this godforsaken week is over.

  2. cometman permalink*
    May 28, 2010 12:56 pm

    Good catch by Rachel Maddow – 1979 news reports on Mexican oil gusher may as well be from 2010: Maddow.

    From June 3, 1979 straight through March 23, 1980, an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was spewing up to 30,000 barrels per day. In just 200 feet of water, the Mexican oil company Pemex scrambled to shut down the Ictoc I exploratory well, but to no avail.

    The gusher kept flowing, despite attempts to lower a “cone” or “sombrero” onto it. Officials tried to inject the gusher with drilling mud and fire metal orbs into it, but that didn’t work either. Finally, after months upon months of oil spray, relief wells succeeded in relieving the pressure, giving conventional methods the leverage to seal the gusher.

    ~snip~

    Those same officials, President Obama chief among them, have also called the 2010 oil gusher “unprecedented.” While they may be right on a technicality — that the Ixtoc was a problem for the Mexican government, making the Deepwater Horizon disaster a truly American disaster — the scenario is far from “unprecedented”.

    ~snip~

    “The oil wells keep talking about how technologically advanced they are,” Maddow said. “But, what they’ve gotten technologically advanced at is drilling deeper. They haven’t gotten any more technologically advanced on how to deal with the risks attached to that. They haven’t made any technological advances in the last 30 years when it comes to stopping a leak like this when it happens.”

    “Unprecedented.”

    “Nobody could have foreseen…. (insert disaster that was warned about repeatedly)”.

    We never learn.

    • Stemella permalink*
      May 28, 2010 1:15 pm

      Granted, my attitude was fairly permanently adjusted throughout most of 1979, but I have no fucking recollection of that spill, at all. Of course I don’t think I ever watched tv news that year, but I did read newspapers.

      I saw Rachel’s report and was not at all surprised that the technology and procedures for disaster response hadn’t changed in all that time.

      This gusher would be a great disaster to use as an opportunity for a complete attitude and other adjustments on the acquisition and use of the ol’ fossily fuels. It won’t happen with Barry and his current crew. I just watched his press conference from the Gulf. Barry is completely “managed” just the way Bush was. He is not going to do anything hopeful or changey regarding petroleum, just the way he didn’t with the banksters.

      We’re on our own, still, in the aftermath of Bush and under the realm of <O. No doubt about it.

      Some of us learn or can learn. We need to organize ourselves and plan for when the shit hits the fan big time. And if it doesn't hit the fan while we are still around we can pay it forward to the youngins.

      • cometman permalink*
        May 28, 2010 3:06 pm

        I don’t remember it either – not when it happened and not in conjunction with the Valdez spill either. But presumably somebody in the oil industry remembered it. And presumably somebody in government has made a few calls asking about possible ways to cap the well. You’d think they might have asked this other company if what they did actually worked before making the same mistakes all over again. Or maybe I’m just presuming too much. Highly possible they were all watching Gilligan’s Island reruns instead.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    May 29, 2010 11:32 am

    RIP Dennis Hopper

    from another period of attitude adjustments

    God I feel old

    • cometman permalink*
      May 29, 2010 1:24 pm

      Bye bye Babalugats.

      Had an unexpected run in with Hopper about twenty years ago in the middle of a major attitude adjustment. I was living in Vail CO at the time and used to hang out with a bunch of good old boys from Texas. The kind who liked to hit the town, get ripshit drunk, look for a girl to take home and if that didn’t work a good fight was always the second best option. When it got close to closing time at the bars we’d head over to the local dance club for last call and on this night there were no girls to be had by my friends but luckily there were two other guys who started fighting over a girl in the middle of the dance floor. My friend Chris jumped into the fray to “break the fight up” , pulled one of the guys off the other and whacked his head on the floor so hard you could hear his skull knock the wood over the pumping music. I was taking it all in off to the side and all of a sudden some guy says to me “What the hell is your friend’s problem?” and I looked over to see a short guy in a bolo tie. It was Dennis Hooper and he was not amused at all by my friend’s behavior. I told him he was breaking up the fight, but I didn’t believe it and I don’t think Hopper did either. The details after that are a little shaky. Good times, good times :)

      Light one up wherever you are Dennis. Just don’t bogart it –

      Might as well cannonball it with a PBR. It can’t do any harm now –

      RIP.

  4. artemis54 permalink
    May 29, 2010 2:03 pm

    Glen Barry: United States of Ecocide: Spilling and Consuming Way to Oblivion

    Clearly the American way of life has been built upon liquidating our own and foreign natural life-giving ecosystems to access resources for consumption. To equate mowing ancient forests, dumping waste into water, over-fishing oceans, polluting the atmosphere, and the pervasive toxic chemical cocktail with progress and development is absurd. It is entirely possible that oil deep undersea and within our shared Earth was not meant to be drilled, much less burnt. America must directly face our profound dependence upon oil and destruction of natural ecosystems as the basis of our economy; or our country will collapse, many if not all will needlessly suffer and prematurely die, and a livable Earth may cease to exist.

    . . . . .

    I would like to take this opportunity to call for criminal investigations of BP and the U.S. government’s oil departments, for the immediate resignation of Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior, and for a permanent global ban to ecocidal offshore oil drilling.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 1, 2010 9:07 am

      Not sure it’s apt to make a moral judgment on whether oil should be drilled or not in the first place – I don’t think the oil cares if it’s burnt or not – but scientifically speaking there may be an argument against it. I’m no geologist nor do I know the specifics of how these undersea wells are made, but my understanding is that you have the sea floor, a layer of oil underneath that, and then other geological strata under that. Take out the oil, and at some point resettling would seem to be a natural consequence. Maybe the top layer gradually sinks as the oil is gradually removed – if so maybe there’s no problem. But if not, I’d think removing all the oil and leaving a void in between layers would create conditions for a tsunami once things collapse. Just speculation on my part – again I don’t know the details of what actually happens.

      I also like the term he throws in – “steady state economy”. First time I’d heard it and I think it is a good one. The economic “-isms” used in the past are running their course and something new is needed to describe a well regulated economy that allows for a sustainable free enterprise system that takes all external costs into account, nationalizes services that the vast majority need, while providing a robust social safety net for all. Not sure if that’s what the author meant by “steady state”, but it sounds good to me.

      And yeah, Salazar needs to fall on his sword yesterday.

  5. cometman permalink*
    May 30, 2010 7:04 am

    I find this disturbing and ridiculously stupid at the same time – Knowing the enemy, one avatar at a time.

    It’s a familiar scene in Afghanistan: Donkey carts and hawkers fill the market square. Bearded men in traditional garb drink tea and search for work. A US visitor scans their faces, trying to distinguish friend from foe.

    But this village is virtual. The villagers are bits of software code, and the Americans who “visit’’ are players in a videogame-like program designed not only for training purposes but for intelligence analysis.

    The program, which loosely resembles the game SimCity, is part of a US government effort to develop sophisticated computer models of real Afghan villages — complete with virtual people based on actual inhabitants — in an attempt to predict their reaction to US raids and humanitarian aid.

    Hmmm. Let’s see….. I’m thinking the reaction to those raids where the US slaughters innocent people is going to be fairly negative while the humanitarian assistance will be grudgingly accepted. Is a computer simulation really necessary to figure that out?!?!?!?!? I also predict that the reaction to the US getting the fuck out of their country and leaving them alone would be dancing in the streets. What do I win?

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 30, 2010 10:43 am

      Our first two hundred winners will receive a free barrel of crude. Please stop by any of our new BP Gulf Resort and Casino locations to redeem your prize.

  6. artemis54 permalink
    May 30, 2010 2:32 pm

    Happy Wargasm Day

    A Utilitarian View of the Monitor’s Fight
    — Herman Melville

    Plain be the phrase, yet apt the verse,
    More ponderous than nimble;
    For since grimed War here laid aside
    His painted pomp, ‘twould ill befit
    Overmuch to ply
    The rhyme’s barbaric symbol.

    Hail to victory without the gaud
    Of glory; zeal that needs no fans
    Of banners; plain mechanic power
    Plied cogently in War now placed —
    Where War belongs —
    Among the trades and artisans.

    Yet this was battle, and intense —
    Beyond the strife of fleets heroic;
    Deadlier, closer, calm ‘mid storm;
    No passion; all went on by crank.
    Pivot, and screw,
    And calculations of caloric.

    Needless to dwell; the story’s known.
    The ringing of those plates on plates
    Still ringeth round the world —
    The clangor of the blacksmiths’ fray.
    The anvil-din
    Resounds this message from the Fates:

    War shall yet be, and to the end;
    But war-paint shows the streaks of weather;
    War yet shall be, but the warriors
    Are now but operatives; War’s made
    Less grand than Peace,
    And a singe runs through lace and feather.

  7. cometman permalink*
    June 1, 2010 9:20 am

    So oil is still gushing into the gulf with no end in sight and the best <O can come up with is a PR shakeup.

    …it reached a turning point Monday when the administration said it no longer wants to share a podium with BP at the daily briefing in Louisiana. Instead, the national incident commander, Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, will give a solo briefing wherever he happens to be.

    That ought to fix things Barry!!!!

    And this one merits one of those pounding-the-head-on-the-keyboard-until-bloody graphics:

    “We’ve been increasingly frustrated with BP on matters of transparency,” an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Monday.

  8. cometman permalink*
    June 1, 2010 9:28 am

    Surprise surprise! US BFF Israel has given itself another black eye by slaughtering people carrying relief supplies to Gaza. And of course once again US puppet president <O gets the stiff arm:

    …Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was flying home after canceling a meeting today with President Obama.

    Israel is coming out of the gate claiming its soldiers were fired upon first but eyewitnesses beg to differ – Israelis opened fire before boarding Gaza flotilla, say released activists.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 1, 2010 10:24 am

      No defence anyway. The blockade is illegal, and boarding the ship was already an act of piracy. How can resisting an act of piracy be justification for shooting people.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 2, 2010 8:28 am

      No surprise that while the rest of the world stands in condemnation of Israel’s continued bullshit violence and bullying, ignoring international laws because it can, <O and the Clintonistas, stand behind them condoning, aiding and abetting. Can it be any clearer but that the US is nearly isolated now as the evil empire. Too big to fail for now, but that won't always be the case.

      Here's some recent news about the event from the Guardian

      • Israel’s attorney general says all of the nearly 700 activists detained in a deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip will be deported by the end of the day. Yehuda Weinstein says Israel has decided not to prosecute any of the activists. Officials had earlier said they were considering prosecuting about 50 people believed to be involved in violence.
      But Weinstein wrote in his order Wednesday that “keeping them here would do more damage to the country’s vital interests than good.” Israeli soldiers killed nine activists in the raid Monday

      • Turkish lawmakers have called on the government to review its political, military and economic ties with Israel. In a declaration approved by a show of hands, the lawmakers also said Israel must formally apologize for Monday’s flotilla raid, pay compensation to the victims and bring those responsible to justice.
      “This attack was an open violation of United Nations rules and international law,” Deputy Parliament Speaker Guldal Mumcu said, reading out the declaration.
      “Turkey should seek justice against Israel through national and international legal authorities,” the declaration said.

  9. cometman permalink*
    June 1, 2010 9:32 am

    Is there anything activity corporations cannot figure out how to corrupt an co-opt? – Community Gardens Don’t Excuse What Kraft Did to American Food.

    A few weeks ago, a churchyard near my city apartment was converted into a garden. A group of local volunteers hammered together raised beds, trucked in new soil, and planted berries, tomatoes and greens with the hope of growing fresh food for a local soup kitchen.

    It doesn’t get much warmer and fuzzier than that, but I’m pretty repulsed by it.

    As someone who advocates for a more localized food system where we can all have a stronger connection to what we’re eating and to the backstory of how it was grown, you’d think I’d support this kind of project. And I would, were it not for the fact that it was built in partnership with Triscuit. Yes, the cracker company, which is owned by Kraft Foods, Inc., the world’s second-largest food corporation.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 1, 2010 10:44 am

      Creeping feudalism. Welcome to McForest: Mining giant aims to save Madagascar forest (what a bullshit headline) Except there won’t be anything in the new one. I might as well erect a teepee in my front yard and expect the Indians to come back.

      Rio Tinto to the south, Ambatovy’s monster nickel mine to the north, Chinese forest interests raping the place from stem to stern, all in the absence of any governance and the continuing drought of aid. The crown jewel of the planet, THE biodiversity hotspot, has no chance at all.

      • artemis54 permalink
        June 1, 2010 11:11 am

        btw, New Rule: All citizens of Madagascar are required to submit their names to tinyurl for review.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 2, 2010 12:13 pm

        Bullshit indeed. Didn’t see a single mention in the article about the animal species that are likely to go extinct while they are waiting for the forest to grow back. And locking out the locals from cutting any trees?!?!?!?!?!? In my experience the small time local people using their local resources isn’t what’s causing the big problems and introducing non-native eucalyptus so they have some wood to cut is probably not the best idea. Wonder if anyone has bothered to study how this fast-growing eucalyptus will push out native plant species. Maybe the fuckers at Rio Tinto can give plant some bamboo and Norway maples too. Doesn’t anybody anywhere have an ounce of common sense left?

  10. Stemella permalink*
    June 2, 2010 8:18 am

    Here is a useful resource for tracking what is going on in the gulf at many levels.

    GeoPlatform

    This map allows one to apply multiple layers to track the oil and its impact on land and sea communities of creatures.

    Also, here is the best link I’ve found for watching the latest in underwater kabuki disaster response theater. You can paste the URL into Windows Media or other media program to be able to manipulate the size of the screen. At the moment they are trying to unstick the diamond band saw that is snagged in cutting the main riser. Complete clusterfuck.

    Here’s that link: Reflector

    There was also a press conference this morning with head of NOAA, Jane Lubchenco, who said that a new fleet of research vessels has begun collecting more samples and that they are studying the long term effects of all the dispersant.

    Meanwhile, here is likely tangible evidence of those effects …

    Sea Turtles

    * The total number of sea turtles verified from April 30 to May 31 within the designated spill area is 253. Seven live turtles were captured on May 31 during directed search efforts from a search vessel that included NOAA, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission staff and other partners working approximately 40 miles offshore. All the turtles were pelagic stage juveniles (6 Kemp’s ridley and one green turtle), alive and very oiled. Their behavior was abnormal, but they were responsive. All were initially cleaned on the support vessel, received initial veterinary care and were transported to Audubon Aquarium outside New Orleans, where they are undergoing further care. Another Kemp’s ridley was captured during a skimmer vessel operation approximately 17 miles offshore, oiled and alive. This turtle was transported to shore by the US Coast Guard and Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife and is also now at the Audubon Aquarium undergoing further care. On water surveys for sea turtles will continue this week.

    The 253 turtles verified in the spill area include 12 turtles collected alive with visible external evidence of oil and one dead stranded turtle with visible external evidence of oil. All others have not had visible evidence of external oil.

    A total of 228 turtles stranded dead. A total of 15 stranded alive. Three of those subsequently died and one of the live stranded turtles –caught in marine debris — was disentangled and released. There are 21 turtles in rehabilitation. Turtle strandings during this time period have been higher in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama than in previous years for this same time period. This may be due in part to increased detection and reporting, but this does not fully account for the increase.

    Dolphins

    * From April 30 to May 31, there have been 29 dead dolphins verified within the designated spill area. So far, one of the 29 dolphins had evidence of external oil. Because it was found on an oiled beach, we are unable at this time to determine whether the animal was covered in oil prior to its death or after its death. The other 28 dolphins have had no visible evidence of external oil. Since April 30, the stranding rate for dolphins in Louisiana has been higher than the historic numbers for the same time period in previous years. This may be due to increased detection and reporting and the lingering effects of the earlier observed spike in strandings.

    *Strandings are defined as dead or debilitated animals that wash ashore link

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 2, 2010 9:02 am

      Then there are the pancake batfish – what a wonderful and apt name. Dr. Chakrabarty recently expressed concern that his proposed two new species could be extinct before he can even get published.

      If you will allow me an Andy Rooney moment, have you noticed the hours devoted every day in the prolefeeds to whatever whizz-bang solution du jour? Rick Sanchez brings his tinkertoys, which are always on the verge of outwitting him, to illustrate the blow out preventer in the most utterly sophomoric way, and he’s in over his head even then.

      A few thousand per night on graphics of nothing but the goddamned rig, and the now ubiquitous video feeds – ooh, look, the saw is made out diamonds just like Perez Hilton wears – because it doesn’t happen unless it happens on camera. (Why is all research on the Columbia and Snake salmon conducted in and right around the dams? Because that’s where the electricity, coffee pots, and bathrooms are.)

      Where are the illustrations of the bluefin tuna spawning grounds, which largely overlap this spill? How about a graphic of the future of the tuna? I haven’t heard one mention.

      Menhaden? Sawfish?

      Every so often, some celebrity biologist or explorer like Philippe Cousteau – and more power to him – gets on for a minute or two, but the conversation never proceeds beyond a third grade level. Chuck Todd nods blankly like the ignorant cow that he is, because he can’t figure out how all these confusing ideas that hurt his head so much tie into the latest poll that he has to read out loud to justify his pathetic existence.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 2, 2010 12:34 pm

        Thank you (and Jon Stewart) for watching these idiots so I don’t have to ;)

    • cometman permalink*
      June 2, 2010 12:23 pm

      The situation for bluefin tuna isn’t looking too good either right now – Spill may cut into N.E. bluefin catch.

      As oil gushes up from the seabed and spreads, scientists are studying whether bluefin larvae the size of a pencil tip will survive the leak. The answer could have important consequences for New England, where many of the tuna migrate each year and where bluefin fishing season opened yesterday.

      “I suspect the larvae and eggs won’t be able to escape if they [encounter] oil,’’ said Jim Franks, senior scientist at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

      Even before the spill, the numbers of bluefin in the region’s waters had fallen sharply, probably because of heavy fishing, and fishermen fear the government will now impose more restrictions on the size of the catch.

      There ought to be a moratorium on bluefin fishing even without this disaster. Maybe this will be enough to push authorities to do so but it won’t matter if they’re all already dead.

  11. cometman permalink*
    June 2, 2010 12:37 pm

    Barry talks tough against the big oil corporations, calling for a rollback of their lucrative taxbreaks.

    Hard to believe he’s serious though when you see that the <O administration, in the midst of the biggest oil disaster in history, has given the OK for a new shallow water well right off the coast of LA.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 2, 2010 1:29 pm

      Unfuckingbelievable.

      The Minerals Management Service granted a new drilling permit sought by Bandon Oil and Gas for a site about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana and 115 feet below the ocean’s surface. It’s south of Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge and Game Preserve, far to the west of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that triggered the BP spill.

      About that Wildlife Refuge

      Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge is one of the most biologically diverse wildlife areas in the nation. Located at the terminus of the vast Mississippi Flyway, south Louisiana winters about 4 million waterfowl annually. Historically, Rockefeller wintered as many as 400,000-plus waterfowl annually, but severe declines in the continental duck population due to drought and poor habitat quality on the breeding grounds have altered Louisiana’s wintering population. More recent surveys indicate a wintering waterfowl population on Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge reaching 160,000. In addition to ducks, geese, and coots, numerous shorebirds and wading birds either migrate through or overwinter in Louisiana’s coastal marshes. Neotropical migrant passerines also use the shrubs and trees on levees and other “upland” areas of the refuge as a rest stop on their trans-Gulf journeys to and from Central and South America. Although Canada geese no longer migrate to the refuge from breeding areas in the north as they once did, a resident flock of giant Canada geese was established in the early 1960s.

      Common resident animals include mottled ducks, nutria, muskrat, rails, raccoon, mink, otter, opossum, white-tailed deer, and alligators. An abundant fisheries population provides recreational opportunities to fishermen seeking shrimp, redfish, speckled trout, black drum, and largemouth bass, among others. No hunting is allowed on the refuge, but some regulated trapping is allowed for furbearers that could potentially damage the marsh if their populations are not controlled. link

      Gobsmacked by the audacity of sheer idiocy and greed

  12. artemis54 permalink
    June 3, 2010 11:34 am

    Now we’re getting somewhere.

    London steampunk band issues new track on wax cylinders.

  13. cometman permalink*
    June 3, 2010 12:51 pm

    Interesting. A new studies claims that there are several million fewer species on the planet than previously thought. However I have to wonder just how accurate their estimates are based on the models used –

    Dr Hamilton and a team of international researchers have applied probability modelling techniques (models often used in financial risk estimates) to data from numerous previous studies. They found that there is a 90% chance that there is somewhere between 2 and 7 million tropical arthropod species, with a best estimate of 3.7 million.

    With the addition of approximately 50,000 vertebrates (birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles), 400,000 plants and possibly 1.3 million other organisms (mostly microorganisms, but excluding the bacteria for which we know very little about), this leaves us with a best estimate of around 5.5 million species with whom we share planet Earth. Furthermore, the study found that there is less than a 0.001% chance that the often-quoted value of at least 30 million total species is true.

    Anyhow, no matter how you measure it there a lot but if there are fewer then previously imagined that would seem to be reason to exercise even more caution regarding destructive human activities. Probably won’t happen any time soon though.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 3, 2010 1:30 pm

      How long is the coastline?

      Wonder about having much confidence at all in the ocean numbers for instance. But “species” is our construct anyway, you can move the lines however you like. Better to concentrate on overall diversity, whether in a system – forest, watershed – or within what we decide are species. Very little in cheetahs, Taz devils etc which is part of their problem. Much more elsewhere.

      Lo and behold, this is what I’m fumbling for: the portfolio effect. Long known though in salmon in general; a highly “plastic” genome enables variations in behavior, shape, everything, to take advantage of eveything.

  14. cometman permalink*
    June 3, 2010 1:30 pm

    Glenn Greenwald torches <O and Salazar for their monumental failures before the BP disaster and their lame excuses since – Ken Salazar, corporatism and the BP oil spill.

    Definitely worth reading the whole thing including the links. I clicked on one which led to a Klub Kumquat diary from slinkerwink decrying the new permit just issued, and yet the diarist still can’t bring themselves to blame Barry for being a stooge to industry, probably because the diarist spent so much time shilling for Barry during the campaign IIRC. The diarist’s suggestion for what we should do? – Sign a Sierra Club petition! The same Sierra Club that Greenwald mentions had no problems defending corporate shill Salazar’s appointment in the first place. What the fuck is wrong with these people!?!?!? Guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there are still so many willing to twist themselves into knots looking for reasons to defend St. Barry but I am anyway.

    Greenwald’s update bears repeating:

    UPDATE II: The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reports that “in the first three months of this year alone, . . . BP has hired at least 27 lobbyists who formerly worked in Congress or the executive branch.” BP also hired the Podesta Group, the firm owned by the brother of Obama transition chief and President of Center for American Progress John Podesta, where they received the services of numerous former Democratic and GOP officials, as well as Tony Podesta himself. Writes Stein: “Tony Podesta declined a request for comment, as did the White House.”

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 3, 2010 1:46 pm

      Thanks. Will read when I get back.

      On some of the same topics, here’s a meeting of giants: Mongabay interviews Glen Barry – at considerable length. Barry is unfortunately having to appeal again for funds to keep his sprawling megasite Ecological Internetfunds ,btw. It is nice of mongabay to do this now. EI accomplishes more than it is ever given credit for.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 4, 2010 9:06 am

        Thanks for that one. Wasn’t that familiar with Barry until I read your posts about him but I like that guy. A complete moratorium on logging old growth forests is a great idea, one of many such moratoria(?) that are desperately needed right now. As much as the hemp advocates annoy me sometimes (just admit that you really just want to get high already!) I do think that hemp would be a much better source of toilet paper than old growth forests seeing as it only takes a season to renew rather than hundreds or thousands of years.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 4, 2010 1:14 am

      That piece is damning. I remember going “Huh?” when they trotted out that 30-day bit. Greenwald really nails it. As for Salazar, it’s funny how saying I told you so just isn’t any fun any more.

  15. cometman permalink*
    June 3, 2010 1:45 pm

    Here’s another good one from McClatchy.

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration late Wednesday moved swiftly to plug a hole in its much touted six-month ban on new deepwater drilling when the Interior Department ordered oil companies to overhaul and resubmit dozens of exploration plans that had already been approved but were virtually identical to BP’s and that called major spills and environmental damage “unlikely.”

    The action came after McClatchy informed the White House and Interior officials that it had reviewed 31 deepwater exploration and development plans approved for the Gulf under the Obama administration and found that all of them downplayed the threat of spills to marine life and fisheries.

    The language scarcely varied from company to company, suggesting that the plans were pumped out like boilerplate. Of the 31 plans McClatchy reviewed, 14 were approved since the April 20 explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig,

    The administration had failed to include the plans in its moratorium, and experts told McClatchy that the filings could clear the way for drilling new wells when the ban was lifted. Following inquiries by McClatchy to White House and Interior officials, the Bureau of Land Management announced late Wednesday that oil companies would need to resubmit the plans with additional safety information before they’d be allowed to drill new wells.

    Somehow I don’t have a lot of confidence that anything will be any different just by “resubmitting plans” considering how fast those plans have been rubberstamped in the past. As Greenwald mentions in the article above, one recent request was rubberstamped in 10 minutes.

    I’ve seen Kieran Suckling from the Center for Biological Diversity all over the place in several articles today, including this one:

    “Interior has very doggedly refused to address this core problem because they realize that’s where the rubber meets the road and the real reform begins,” said Kieran Suckling, the executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that has studied the issue.

    “It’s a very cynical ploy. They’re staying away from the real environmental review process because that’s where the stakes are highest for the oil industry.”

    ~snip~

    “The drill plan is where all the real substance is,” Suckling said. “One you get approved there, you’ve gotten over the big expensive hurdle. You’ve gotten over the stage where you could be shut down.”

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 3, 2010 1:49 pm

      You gonna believe Salazar or Suckling? Not a tough call there.

  16. artemis54 permalink
    June 4, 2010 1:08 am

    A touch of OCD can be a good thing. John Abraham, professor of mechanical engineering at the U of St Thomas in Minnesota, attended a talk last October by Christopher Monckton which purported to disprove global warming. Abraham was so taken aback that he set about tracking down all of Monckton’s references – usually pretty vague – and citations of various papers, scientists and ideas.

    The result is an 85-minute lecture, lavishly illustrated and buttressed by hundreds of legitimate and very specific citations, as well as emails from various authors misquoted by “Lord” Monckton – as Monckton himself and James Inhofe refer to him – and other material exposing M’s various lies and fabrications. The whole thingis available here and it’s a delight.

    Abraham’s article in the Guardian

    and another at Skeptical Science on just the matter of sea ice levels. The full length presentation above also taks on polar bears, the medieval warming period, ocean acidification, the whole Monckton fraud from soup to nuts.

    Please file for the next time some idiot from Oklahoma invites this maniac to testify before congress.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 4, 2010 2:12 am

      Also available as a ten part Youtube series, complete with the idiotic responses one expects there.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 6, 2010 10:32 am

      Just got a chance to listen to that Abraham’s mocking of Monckton. Excellent – thanks for posting that one.

  17. artemis54 permalink
    June 4, 2010 3:36 am

    This is excellent: Biodiversity – The Appreciation of Different Thought Styles and Values Helps to Clarify the Term

    The appreciation of different thought styles, which are types of worldviews, and different values is crucial for a clearer and more consistent understanding of “biodiversity.” Three groups of thought styles with different uses of the term biodiversity can be distinguished. (1) Natural history perceives biodiversity as biotic elements of nature that can be described and classified. (2) Science considers biodiversity as a measurable parameter that is relevant for ecosystem processes and functions. (3) In environmentalism, biodiversity is used in the context of concerns about species extinctions and habitat destructions. Values play a strong role in some perceptions of biodiversity but are negligible in others. Much confusion arises from some people considering biodiversity as something valuable per se and others seeing it as a virtually value-free parameter for the description of ecosystems. Because of different thought styles and values the term biodiversity should be used as a general concept, not as a specific element of nature. Biodiversity is a framework for the variety of life on Earth. Biodiversity in this sense is not measurable. However, specific features of biodiversity, e.g., the species richness of vascular plants, can be quantified. The selection of these features depends on thought styles and values. This implies that “biodiversity as general concept” should be distinguished from measurable “features of biodiversity.” Explicit declarations of selected biodiversity features, in every case quantities are in the focus, are inevitable for an unambiguous use of the term.

    From the April issue of Restoration Ecology, free online in honor of the Year of Biodiversity, which looks as if it could be the worst year for biodiversity since the Yucatan asteroid. And it’s only June.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 4, 2010 11:48 am

      And it’s only going to get worse if other pressing issues are not addressed soon. Like the billions of gallons of coal sludge that are not exactly secure.

      “After watching the disaster unfold in the Gulf with 20-40 million gallons of oil already spilled,” says Bo Webb, in Naoma, West Virginia, “I cannot begin to imagine what would happen to our Coal River Valley if the 9 billion gallon sludge dam above us failed.”

      Webb is referring to the Brushy Fork impoundment, the largest and potentially weakest coal slurry impoundment in the nation operated by Massey. According to Massey’s own evacuation reports, a break in the class “C” coal slurry impoundment would result in certain injury or death for the nearly 1,000 residents downslope in the valley. Some area residents would have less than 15 minutes to escape a 72-foot tidal wave of coal slurry.

      We’re talking about billions of gallons of coal sludge here, not millions.

      Despite pleas and protests by local residents, Massey Energy is operating a reckless strip mine near the Bee Tree branch of Coal River Mountain, blasting outrageously close to the multi-billion gallon coal slurry impoundment that is held back by a weakened earthen dam.

  18. cometman permalink*
    June 4, 2010 9:14 am

    Motherfuckers. I can only assume this is a ploy so BP can cry poverty when it comes time to pay the bill for their Gulf disaster – CEO: BP will make good on $10 billion in profit payouts to shareholders, despite spill.

    Either that, or BP is looking at what happened with the Valdez spill and is simply assuming it will never have to pay more than a pittance for the damage it has caused. Either way they will probably get away with it.

    I still can’t figure out why they are allowed to continue operating in US waters at all right now. If Barry had any balls, he would have shut down production on all of BP’s wells since they have shown they can’t operate safely and he would have used the Coast Guard to chase their sorry asses straight back to Britain.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 4, 2010 12:34 pm

      On a related note, screw the environment, the real problem with the Gulf disaster is the PR problems it poses for BP according to the NYT. Yves Smith has a very good post on the subject excoriating the abysmal tonedeafness of both the Grey lady and BP’s dipshit CEO – WTF Alert: BP CEO is a Mere PR Problem?

      She mentions another reason which might explain BP promising the huge dividend to shareholders mentioned above – Tony Hayward is trying to save his cushy job by buying off shareholders:

      Now why might BP be doing its damndest to paint Hayward as a leader who is merely clumsy with the media, as opposed to someone who has been criminally negligent? Bloomberg points out the obvious, that some investors want his head:

      BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward faces rising speculation that the worsening oil spill will cost him his job as he grapples with worried investors, rating downgrades, U.S. politicians and public anger over the company’s inability to control the crisis….

      “There is a question mark over the chief executive officer,” said Colin McLean, of SVM Asset Management Ltd. in Edinburgh, which holds BP shares. “The dividend will continue but be cut. A quarter or a third is quite possible.”…

      Side note: Maybe it’s because I’ve been busy lately and not able to read as much, but the BP disaster seems to have taken the spotlight away from the Wall Street ratfuckers for the time being, which is I’m sure a huge boon for them. Even the financial sites I read are concentrating heavily on the Gulf disaster. Makes me wonder what these assholes are up to while a lot fewer people are looking.

  19. cometman permalink*
    June 4, 2010 12:12 pm

    If the oil keeps spewing in the Gulf much longer, the US will soon equal what happens pretty much every day in Nigeria.

    In fact, more oil is spilled from the [Nigerian] delta’s network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig last month.

    ~snip~

    On 1 May this year a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline in the state of Akwa Ibom spilled more than a million gallons into the delta over seven days before the leak was stopped. Local people demonstrated against the company but say they were attacked by security guards. Community leaders are now demanding $1bn in compensation for the illness and loss of livelihood they suffered. Few expect they will succeed. In the meantime, thick balls of tar are being washed up along the coast.

    Within days of the Ibeno spill, thousands of barrels of oil were spilled when the nearby Shell Trans Niger pipeline was attacked by rebels. A few days after that, a large oil slick was found floating on Lake Adibawa in Bayelsa state and another in Ogoniland. “We are faced with incessant oil spills from rusty pipes, some of which are 40 years old,” said Bonny Otavie, a Bayelsa MP.

    Lots more at the link, all of which is truly appalling.

    Found the article through this Ken Silverstein post which mentions a significant error in the Guardian article. For accuracy’s sake:

    Update: Craig Morris writes that the Guardian article contained a significant mistake in saying that “the Niger Delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports.” Nigeria as a whole provides about seven to eight percent of American imports, well behind Canada and Mexico as a supplier.

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