“Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

Tar Balls in the Surf, Gulf Shore, Alabama

 

“I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security.  Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad.  Otherwise what is there to defend?” ~ Robert Redford, Yosemite National Park dedication, 1985

Latest word out of the gulf indicates that BP is engaged in a cover-up of the literal kind. In an article cross-posted in the Huffington Post, Allison Kilkenny discusses the allegation: Photojournalist C. S. Muncy believes that he has found evidence that BP is trucking in sand and dumping it on top of oil balls. Muncy spoke with a an individual who had been hired to patrol the beach to keep out reporters and photographers, and this person confirmed that BP had brought in sand.

Rather than being an attempt to aerate the existing sand to promote the biodegrading process, the new sand seems to be more of a cover.

“The water there was a deep purple, maroons, blues. It looked almost like a rainbow. The scope of this is beyond belief. It’ll take years at this rate to gather up even a portion of the oil that’s on the surface today.” ~ John Wathen, Waterkeeper Alliance

   

Sea Turtle Covered in Oil off Coast of Grand Terre Island, Louisiana

 

In other oil spill news, Keith Olbermann of “Countdown” aired the following piece that shows just how far the spill has spread and what it is leaving in its wake:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

Remember those FEMA trailers, the ones laced with formaldehyde? The ones deemed unsafe to send to Haiti post-earthquake for temporary shelter? Well, they’ve finally found a use for them: They are being used to house people involved in the clean up of the BP Gulf oil spill.

FEMA Trailer in Venice, Louisiana

As a result of individuals becoming sick after staying in the FEMA trailers after Katrina, the CDC conducted air-quality tests on 519 trailers. The CDC tests confirmed that the trailers posed a serious danger to any who still lives in them. So what to do? What to do?

Not wanting to pay storage on the unusable trailers, the federal government began selling them—even though the government had banned such trailers from ever being used for long-term housing. More than 100,000 trailers have been sold in public auctions, including to businesses and individuals in Louisiana.

According to the New York Times, the trailers have been “showing up in mobile-home parks, open fields and local boatyards as thousands of cleanup workers have scrambled to find housing . . . Ron Mason, owner of a disaster contracting firm, Alpha 1, said that in the past two weeks he had sold more than 20 of the trailers to cleanup workers and the companies that employ them in Venice and Grand Isle, La.”

The trailers are selling for $2,500 and up, and many buyers claim that they were not informed of the restrictions on using the trailers for housing. The GSA said on Wednesday that “they had opened at least seven cases concerning buyers who might not have posted the certification and formaldehyde warnings on trailers they sold.”

Ron Mason, owner of a disaster contracting firm, Alpha 1, has sold more than 20 of the trailers to cleanup workers and the companies that employ them in Venice and Grand Isle, La. He sees nothing wrong with the trailers. Says Mason, “Look, you know that new car smell? Well, that’s formaldehyde, too. The stuff is in everything. It’s not a big deal.” None of Mason’s trailers were posted with the required placards on the outside or inside indicating the formaldehyde risk or that it was not supposed to be used for housing. According to Mason, who is planning to buy more trailers, he is “providing a service.”

As Primo Levi once said, “I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.”

More later. Peace.

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“Our environmental problems originate in the hubris of imagining ourselves as the central nervous system or the brain of nature. We’re not the brain, we are a cancer on nature.” ~ Dave Foreman

Oily Wave Makes Its Way to Shore, by Joe Raedle/Getty
 
Day 74 of the Oil Spill in the Gulf

The following is taken directly from the National Resources Defense Council’s website: NRDC: Disaster in the Gulf

The explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon, an offshore oil rig, threatens a complex marine ecosystem as well as local livelihoods.

The Deepwater Horizon blowout could turn out to be one of the worst environmental disasters in American history. NRDC is on the ground in Louisiana, assisting in the efforts to protect one of the most ecologically complex regions of the country, its people and economy from the devastating consequences of offshore drilling. Comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation will help move America into a new era of clean, sustainable, renewable power and make disastrous oil spills a relic of the past.

“I’ll explain, and I’ll be sure to use small words so that you’ll be sure to understand. You wart-hog-faced-buffoon!” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride

 

“You be careful. People in masks cannot be trusted.” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Where do I begin? There is so much fodder to sift through and disseminate that I really don’t know who to lambast first. Perhaps I’ll just start with one of my favorites: Rush Limbaugh

  • On Wednesday (6/16), Limbaugh once again attacked the poor by suggesting that those school children who might go hungry this summer could resort to dumpster diving for nutrition. Opening with a comment about “these people,” Rush had this to say: “A summer off from government eating might be just the ticket” to curbing childhood obesity. He later characterized children “starving to death out there because there’s no school meal being provided” as “one of the benefits of school being out.” But did he stop there? Of course not, Limbaugh suggested adding a spot to his program called “Where to Find Food”:

“It’s a thing called the refrigerator. You probably already know about it. Try looking there. There are also things in what’s called the kitchen of your house called cupboards. And in those cupboards, most likely you’re going to find Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, Lays ridgy potato chips, all kinds of dip and maybe a can of corn that you don’t want, but it will be there. If that doesn’t work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. You know where McDonald’s is. There’s the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s and if they don’t have Chicken McNuggets, dial 911 and ask for Obama.

There’s another place if none of these options work to find food; there’s always the neighborhood dumpster.”

Why don’t you try skipping a few meals, you boorish blowhard of a buffoon.

“Would you consider me as an alternative to suicide?” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride
 

  • Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa thinks that racial profiling is all right as long as it isn’t being used in a discriminatory fashion . . . Huh? Does this guy even know what racial profiling is? He further claims that police offers can use common sense indicators to determine illegal immigrants, indicators like clothing, footwear, and grooming. And oh yes,  how people speak. You know, their accidents (his word, not mine)? And ESP:

“It’s just a common sense thing. Law enforcement needs to use common sense indicators. Those common sense indicators are all kinds of things, from what kind of clothes people wear—my suit in my case—what kind of shoes people wear, what kind of accident [sic] they have, um, the, the type of grooming they might have, there’re, there’re all kinds of indicators there and sometimes it’s just a sixth sense and they can’t put their finger on it.”

“I do not accept excuses. I’m just going to have to find myself a new giant, that’s all.” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • I must not forget Sharron Angle, Republican Senate candidate (Nevada). Angle is big on the Second Amendment. In a January radio interview with Lars Larson, Angle said, ” . . . if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” Lest anyone not think that Angle was serious, she reiterated her stance last month when she told the Reno Gazette-Journal that “it’s almost an imperative” that conservatives win. “The nation is arming,” she told the newspaper. “What are they arming for if it isn’t that they are so distrustful of their government? They’re afraid they’ll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways.” Scary, scary woman.
  • On Wednesday, Texas Representative Joe Barton (R) called President Obama’s agreement with BP to set aside of $20 billion in escrow funds a “shakedown.” Now let me get this straight: Obama is wrong for not making BP more accountable. Obama is wrong for not being tougher and not acting outraged over the oil spill. But Obama is wrong to accept BP’s pledge of money in escrow for spill reparations? You can’t have it both ways. But of course, you can. What was I thinking? And I’m certain that the $1.4 million Barton received from oil interests had nothing to do with his declaration . . . Right.

“Am I going mad, or did the word ‘think’ just escape your lips?” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • Continuing with the oil spill . . . BP COO Doug Suttles gave an interview to NBC’s Tom Costello in which he declared that oil spill clean-up technology hasn’t really progressed because there just haven’t been any big spills in the last 40 years to warrant a need for progress on that front. “The events haven’t driven the technology change that’s out there,” Suttles told Costello. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC revealed just how erroneous that statement was when she mapped U.S. spills just since 2000. It was classic Maddow.
  • Do I even both to mention Sarah Palin and the Dutch, dykes and a Norwegian?
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More later. Peace.

Music by Gayngs, “Cry”

“You simply cannot make more (reefs), unless you have a few thousand years to wait.” ~ Doug Rader, chief ocean scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund

  

Laughing Gull Coated in Heavy Oil

  

“The insufferable arrogance of human beings to think that Nature was made solely for their benefit, as if it was conceivable that the sun had been set afire merely to ripen men’s apples and head their cabbages.” ~ Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, États et empires de la lune, 1656
Oil-Coated Brown Pelican Floating Near Grand Terre Island

Forty-five days ago (April 20, 2010), a catastrophic explosion at Deepwater Horizon set into motion this country’s worst environmental disasters. I have yet to write about the oil spill not because I do not care about what is happening, but because I am so enraged that I cannot gather my thoughts into a cogent post that is nothing more than ranting. But I suppose what really set me off and got me to post finally is the latest from Sarah Palin on the spill. With her usual flow of illogic—which I have stopped trying to analyze—Palin blames extreme environmentalists for the massive spill:  

With [environmentalists’] nonsensical efforts to lock up safer drilling areas, all you’re doing is outsourcing energy development, which makes us more controlled by foreign countries, less safe, and less prosperous on a dirtier planet. Your hypocrisy is showing. You’re not preventing environmental hazards; you’re outsourcing them and making drilling more dangerous.  

Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It’s catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.  

That’s right, Palin. It’s the environmentalists, you know, the same ones who claim that there is global warming. Preposterous, right? I mean, it did snow this past winter, didn’t it?  

“I do not think there should be a limit on the rig’s liability, because they are sitting on top of unlimited amounts of oil, and thus, there could be an explosion occur that could do untold damage . . . The amount of damage that an offshore oil rig can do is infinite.” ~ John Chafee, Senate Floor Debate (3 August 1989)
Dying Young Heron Amidst Oil in Barataria Bay

Stinking statistics and ridiculous rhetoric related to Gulf oil spill:  

  •  U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt recently stated that two separate teams of scientists calculated the leak to be between 504,000 and more than a million gallons a day. Original estimates were 210,000 gallons a day
  • Picture this: If 39 million gallons of oil has spilled, the oil would fill enough jugs to stretch from the Louisiana marshes to Prince William Sound in Alaska. That’s where the Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989, spilling nearly 11 million gallons.
  • According to a report by the Interior Department’s Inspector General, Mineral Management Service Employees, those tasked with oversight of offshore drilling,  allowed industry officials to fill in their own inspection reports, accepted gifts of meals and tickets to sporting events from oil and natural gas companies, and viewed porn on government computers. Not surprisingly, Minerals Management Service Director Elizabeth Birnbaum stepped down from the job she has held since July 2009.
  • According to BP CEO Tony Hayward, “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”
  • Also from Hayward:  “I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.”
  • And of course, there’s the pity card: “What the hell did we do to deserve this?” and then this gem: “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I’d like my life back.” Oh. Poor baby.
  • Spill workers have been falling ill with flu-like symptoms, which has led to concerns about hazards and whether or not the workers may be affected adversely because they are not being provided with enough protective equipment, as many in the Gulf have been spotted without goggles or respirators.
  • In response to the hospitalization of seven workers, humanitarian Hayward questioned the cause of their sickness: “I’m sure they were genuinely ill, but whether it had anything to do with dispersants and oil, whether it was food poisoning, or some other reason for them being ill.”
  • In the Florida panhandle and on nearby Alabama beaches, waves of gooey tar blobs have been washing ashore
  • On the too obscene not to be true, a website has gone up so that people can bet on which species become extinct first. No. I’m not providing the link.
“Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us.” ~ Henrik Tikkanen

Perhaps the most gut-wrenching aspect of this whole thing is that even when BP finally manages to stop the oil flow, the ramifications will continue for years. Economically and environmentally, this spill will wreak havoc for decades. Need proof? A 2001 survey by NOAA surveyed 96 sites along 8,000 miles of coastline and found that a total area of approximately 20 acres of shoreline in Prince William Sound are still contaminated with oil. This was 12 years post Exxon Valdez spill.  

  

River of Crude Oil Floating atop the Gulf (aerial picture 6-2-10)

  

I had wanted to include an incredible slide show that I found on Huffington Post, but could not figure out how to get that show into this post. The best I can do is to offer the link: Gulf Oil Spill (PHOTOS): Animals In Peril.  (If anyone knows how to embed a slide show, directions would be lovely.)

Oh. And just because, I must include that “Drill Baby Drill” mantra that Palin loves . . .

Ignorance must indeed be bliss. I can think of no other reason why this woman smiles so much.  

That’s all for now. The Internet is acting up and may be getting ready to go away. I just wanted to get this post up tonight.  

More later. Peace.  

Music by Cyann & Ben, “A Moment Nowhere”