Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stemming the flow - is it working or not?

BP is still working their top kill procedure. For a while on Wednesday, it looked like it was working and the flow of oil had stopped. Now we're being told the top kill procedure will continue until at least Sunday.

When I went  to the live BP feed this morning, this is what I saw:

Not much at all, really.  A long extended shot of nothing. Just what is going on is completely unclear to me, but what's missing are the oil flows that have been present in previous live feeds. Does this mean the top kill is working or just that the area is so completely flooded with mud and oil that nothing can be seen?

(I did learn something however. If you right click on the live feed and save as source, you'll get a much clearer feed than what appears on the BP site.)

Computer wizardry aside, by the time I got my screen shot converted to a JPG and inserted in this post, (which took me a while since screen shots on a Mac involve a separate piece of software, which I had to Google and then find, and it saves images as TIFF files which Blogger apparently doesn't recognize and which I then had to figure out how to convert) the live feed had changed. More oil. My guess is that the ROV started very close to the source and then pulled away for a better overall view.

So, more oil. Claims that the top kill had worked and stopped the oil flow seem to have been grossly premature.  Cause that sure doesn't look like it's working to me. Black flow is mostly oil. Whitish flow is mostly gas. Beige is evidence of blow back from the top kill. Looks black to me.

What this will mean for the Gulf ecosystem no one really knows for sure. Oil can still be found on the shores of Prince William sound 21 years after the Valdez sank. 31 years ago, an offshore well called IXTOC 1 blew off the shore of Mexico.  It's eerily similar to the  Deepwater Horizon event with the exception that it occurred in much shallower waters. Virtually everything that has been done for the DH blowout was done at IXTOC. What finally sealed that blowout? Drilling a relief well that took nine months to complete.

We're in for a long, messy summer folks.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

OMG. GOP. WTF. Idaho edition

Apparently Vaughn Ward, Republican candidate for Congress, is the worst candidate ever.  At least according to TPM.

This guy has a long list of gaffes. Let's list them, shall we?

  1. He thinks Puerto Rico is a foreign country
  2. He reissued endorsements as the primary approached and claimed it was to make sure they were picked up by the press.
  3. He campaigned to cut federal spending on financial bailouts while his wife was the primary bread winner, employed at Fannie Mae, recipient of bailout monies.
  4. He plagiarized the Prez.
Seriously. Watch this side by side video created by his TEA PARTY OPPONENT.

This was the best that Idaho mainstream Repubs could come up with. I suppose this is less an OMG moment but it sure qualifies for WTF.

Money quote from Zandar:
Just because the economy is bad and there are lots of problems America faces today, doesn't magically make Republicans any more competent, folks.

South Carolina budget cuts funding for AIDS drugs and prevention

The proposed budget in South Carolina  "eliminates all money for the Drug Assistance Program, which provides life-saving HIV/AIDS drugs to the state's low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents" and all monies for HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

HIV/AIDS drugs are expensive. Massively expensive. How expensive? AZT, which has been around for decades, is one of the cheaper ones at $102 for a 30 day supply. Altripla, a 3-in-one daily dose of the the most commonly prescribed reverse transcriptase inhibitors, costs $1500 for a 30 day supply online from Canada. Fuzeon, which is always used in combination with other HIV drugs and works against drug-resistant strains, cost $2654 for a 60 days supply online from Canada.

South Carolina has decided that these costs are too much. They're cutting some 2000 people from the Drug Assistance Program. These people will most likely have to stop taking their medications. Doing so puts them at severe risk. Even if the program is reinstated next year, those who have gone for a year without their medications are at higher risk of opportunistic infections, developing drug resistance and full-blown AIDS.

Simply stated, these budgets cuts could kill someone.

Add to that the fact they want to cut funding to prevention programs concurrently and you have a recipe for disaster.
"South Carolina is considered by many to be a hotbed for the disease.
Per capita, the Palmetto State ranks eighth among states in the rate of new AIDS cases, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Columbia ranks ninth in its per-capita rate of AIDS cases among U.S. cities.
More than 14,000 South Carolinians have been documented as living with HIV/AIDS."

So lets cut the funding for those already sick with HIV/AIDS. Maybe they'll prove Alan Grayson correct and hurry up and die. And oh yeah, let's also stop funding the prevention programs so more of our citizenry can contract HIV.

Whatever happened to Compassionate Conservatism? Hell, whatever happened to common human decency?
H/T to Pam's House Blend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

BP Live Feed Available

You can view it here at the House committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming site or at BP's site.

As you might expect, traffic on this live feed is high and it might take a few tries to get it to work. Keep hitting refresh.

With the release of the live feed BP finally admits that they were underestimating the release rate. The amount of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is still unknown, but with the release of this video experts will have a better chance at estimating just how much crude oil has gushed from this clusterfuck.

Conservatives started wailing just days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig that this would be Obama's Katrina. Sad to say, there are some similarities. Much of what caused this disaster was in place before Obama came to office and the government needs to stop listening to BP and take charge of the situation.

But as long as the oil industry lobbyists have access to Congress, not much will really change. More importantly, the fact that whoever sits in the Oval Office seems to mean less to the actual functioning of government than whatever corporation has spent the most money buying both houses of Congress seems to be the take-away here.

Welcome to the United States of America, Inc.

Google Rocks my Socks

Go to

Apparently, today is the 30th Anniversary of Pac-Man. Which, I'm sad to say, I played in its original incarnation. It sure sucks getting old. *sigh* You can try your luck on the Google search page and see if you remember how to play the game.

To help recognize the pop culture mainstay, at 11 a.m. ET today (midnight in Japan), Google turned its homepage over to a Pac-Man game that can be played for the next 48 hours.
Visitors can click on the "insert coin" button or wait 10 seconds to automatically start the game, which reaches 256 levels.

Maybe it might not be so bad when Google takes over the world.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Deepwater Horizon spill and Google Earth

How big is it? Check out this site that uses Google Earth to show you. You can enter you hometown and watch it get swallowed whole.

If centered on London, the spill reaches from Brighton on the coast to Cambridge in the north. If centered on San Francisco, it completly covers San Francisco bay, reaching from Vacaville in the north to beyond Pelican Rock near Santa Cruz. If it were possible to adjust the orientation of the spill graphic, you'd see that it would completely cover Long Island in New York.  Not Manhattan. Long Island. Place it on the big island of Hawaii and that paradise almost completely disappears.

And this is just what we can see on the surface. From SPACE, for crying out loud.

Rep. Edward Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has stated that he will be placing live feed of the blowout on his website. It was supposed to go up last night. It's still not there.

This is a crisis of epic proportions. The oil will enter the loop current and it will spread across the Florida Keys and up the East Coast. It's only a matter of time. Some say, it's already happening. The Gulf of Mexico will become one huge dead zone. Fishing and shrimping in the entire Gulf will continue to suffer for years to come.

BP claims to 5,000 barrels a day having been leaking from the site since the explosion on April 20. Yet they claim that the mile-long tube they're currently using to siphon off  part of the oil is pulling in 210,000 gallons a day. They admit they're not capturing everything, though just how much they're missing is apparently a state secret.  Other estimates put the extent of the spill much higher than BP's.

Steve Wereley, a mechanical engineer at Purdue University in Indiana, told The Associated Press that he is sticking with his estimate that 3.9 million gallons a day is spewing from two leaks.

His estimate of the amount leaked to date, which he calls conservative and says has a margin of error of plus or minus 20 percent, is 126 million gallons - or more than 11 times the total leaked from the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989. 
It's been a month that this well has been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. One month. Only now is BP considering killing the well by injecting drilling mud into it.

This should completely destroy BP. There should be no way that they can recover, yet we know they will soldier on. And keep making a profit, just like Exxon did after the Valdez.

They should rot in hell.

Monday, May 17, 2010


So the craziness that is the Republican party climbed to new heights this weekend. Crazy ads, crazy book promotion, scare tactics and harsh language. Some funny in their idiocy; some just downright maddening.

The political races in Alabama must be entertaining as hell. Certainly, the race for Ag Commissioner is turning out to be a laugh fest, though maybe not the way this candidate intended.

Guns, horses, harsh words and accusations of yard sign theft. Can't get any better than that.

In all seriousness, the level of crazy currently espoused by the Republican party in this country is alarming. Did you hear about Newt Gingrich and his interview on Fox where Chris Wallace called him "wildly over the top". Dude, when Fox news tells you you've gone to far you know you've entered the Twilight Zone.

Gingrich compared Obama to the Nazis. Again with the Nazi thing. Though he did make the caveat that he wasn't thoroughly evil just that he posed as great a threat to America. So that makes it, you know, better.

Gingrich was always a bit of nut but he seems to have embraced the far right elements running the circus and stepped over into crazyland. He should be careful, as all who through around the term Nazi, or Lewis Black might do this:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

That my friends, is a thing of beauty.

Friday, May 14, 2010

OMG. GOP. WTF. Minnesota, again


Gov. Pawlenty  has vowed to veto legislation recently passed by the Minnesota state House and Senate that would guarantee same-sex couples the same end-of-life rights as married couples.

Pawlenty thinks this bill, which would allow same-sex couples the right to make burial decisions and initiate a wrongful death lawsuit if needed, is too controversial and designed to inflame passions. After all, they can get the same benefits from a will. Right?


Senate sponsor Yvonne Prettner Solon said wills not only cost money to draw up, but can be problematic because of errors or omissions. She also said the governor's rationale does not cover the right to file wrongful death suits.
"I think he's missing the point, though, that this is really an issue of fairness and equality," Prettner Solon said.
Should the governor veto the bill, Prettner Solon said an override was unlikely.  
See, I wasn't making it up before when I said Pawlenty was a GOP turd. And to think the Republican party in Minnesota thinks someone even further to the right than this idjit is the answer.

But hey, why should a same-sex couple who's been together for decades have the right to determine how their deceased partners remains are handled? After all, their loved one probably has a family member somewhere that can handle it. They may not have spoken in the last century but that's not a problem, surely.

Denying the basic rights of same-sex individuals is only meant to make them appear to be less than human. There is no other reason. It's as true in Minnesota as in Uganda.

And as wrong.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

OMG. GOP. WTF. Minnesota edition

Looks like this is going to be a regular installment and apparently there will be plenty of OMG moments concerning the GOP.  Today's entry comes from Minnesota, the state that managed to send both Al Fraken and Michele Bachmann to Washington.

Current Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is going to run for President in 2012 and the state Republican party has endorsed this fellow:

While it's not 100% that State Rep. Tom Emmer will be on the ballot come November, the chances are high since he has his state party machine's endorsement.

How, you ask, can he be worse than Pawlenty? Remember, Gov. Pawlenty has led Minnesota to join the multi-state lawsuit against HRC, raised funds for Bachmann's campaign, declined funds from the stimulus package in public eye but accepted them anyway. Pawlenty has tried hard to build his conservative credentials has he prepares to run for President but he's really fairly mild compared to Emmer.

Emmer has proposed "a state constitutional amendment that would allow federal laws to operate in Minnesota only if they were consented to by super-majorities of the state legislature." He approves of the Arizona immigration law and wants to dismantle the welfare system.

And he's for all intents and purposes the Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota.  So Minnesota republicans have endorsed a Tenther. One of those Republican whack jobs that think the tenth amendment means the states can disregard anything the Feds come up with that they dislike. We tried that once in this country. It was called the Articles of Confederation, prior to the establishment of the Constitution, and is was an abysmal failure.

H/T to jobsanger and TPM.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Force is With Them...

This is without a doubt the geekiest thing I have seen in, well, maybe ever.

Wow. Just wow. Congrats guys. I don't even know who you are but I love you hard core.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

OMG. WTF. GOP. Florida Ed.

This may become a regular theme. So, you know how most intelligent people think racial profiling won't work to catch terrorists? If you use a racial profile, they just go out and find someone who doesn't fit the profile. Makes sense, yes?

Well not according to this ass hat:

This is Republican candidate, Dan Fanelli, who somehow thinks he can beat Alan Grayson, the only sensible Democrat in Congress. No, it's not a joke. Yes, he really made the ad and believes what he's saying.

And he's ripped.