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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 3, 2010 7:29 PM. The previous post in this blog was Toxic brew. The next post in this blog is Maybe he gets a break on his mortgage. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

And no end in sight

These photos are too tragic for words.

Comments (27)

And Congress and the President do nothing to help solve the problem. How pathetic!

Yeah, there really ought to be a law against this kind of thing.

and when you have a finger pointing at someone, you have three fingers pointing back at yourself.
Weigh the convenience,affluence and lifestyle of our first world economy against the pollution, political and military intrigue and the ever-turbulent lives we lead. Ask if its a fair trade.
It would be easy to pop off a Walt Kelly quote..."We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us", but would you want to trade what we have for a more bucolic existance? I still need to think about it, and that right balance point. But to assume we can continue to do as we have been doing for the past century or so and not expect consequences seems ... deluded??
Our American Empire is predicated on an unfettered supply of cheap energy. And I don't know how to stop it.. even if i alwqays rode my bike, was a vegetarian and refused to pay taxes to support the Machine, I would still be at least somewhat complicit. That oiled bird is a symptom of my oil addiction.. and yours.

It's not a problem the President or Congress can solve. We live on oil and it has to come from somewhere. The oil production in the US has been in decline since the 1970's so we've been importing more, from the Middle East, Venezuela, Nigeria and others. And now we're going farther offshore, deeper and deeper to keep up with our need for oil. We've known about the problems of oil for more than 30 years but we haven't had the will or foresight to change. Now it's going to be harder, more painful. Search on Peak Oil and the also the Hirsch report for more insight. Your library has books on Peak Oil and related subjects. Example: "The Long Emergency" by Kunstler which goes beyond just oil and it's benefits and problems.

We're all going to Hell if we're not already there.

Joe has nailed it. We have met the enemy, and it is us.

Stop subsidizing the auto. But also don't throw all 1.5 billion into the bike basket.

Mary Volm Stop subsidizing the auto.
JK: We never did to any extent. The interstate was built with user fees. Currently at the federal level user fees turn a profit to subsidize mass transit and most other governments current road spending is from user fees, with perhaps 1% from "non users". But who doesn't use roads?

* Buses use roads without paying anything. In fact PDOT hides a lot of Trimet costs in its budget, like road repairs form the damage buses do to the roads.

* The stuff, for people who don’t use road transit or cars, still gets to the store by trucks on ROADS.

* The police and fire departments come on roads.

* For some unknown reason (to planners anyway) we even had roads before the car!

As specific car subsidies (about 1%) compared to transit subsidies (North of 70%) see DebunkingPortland.com for links to the Federal Government data on the subject.

But I agree that we should stop the 1% subsidy to autos at the same time as we stop the 80% subsidy to energy wasting, polluting transit and the freeloading bikes

FYI, here is as example of road users paying MORE THAN THEIR FAIR SHARE (Highway line is below zero and the biggest subsidy is to transit!) from a Federal Government Report on that site:
.

Thanks
JK

Karlock is right. Everything is just fine. We just need more cars and fewer freeloading bikes. The birds will ultimately enjoy their shiny new coat.

All industries have accidents that take lives and cause damage. We really have two choices. One is to stop all industry, kill off most the human population and move back into caves. Or, learn from our mistakes, clean up the mess and try to do better in the future. Which option are you willing to live with?

If you want to be mad at someone over this look at our environmental rules. There is oil more readily available on land and in shallower waters that is off limits. That's why BP and other oil companies are drilling deep water wells. By the very nature of deep water wells accidents are going to be much harder to deal with, 5000 ft down causes a lot of issues.

Before going off about alternate energy, I'm all for it. But, as of today, there is nothing commercially viable right now. Maybe there will be in 5, 10, 20, 50 yrs but until then oil is it.

Karlock is cherry picking his statistics to justify a point.
Interstates were built by the Feds, but owned and maintained by the States. Gas taxes typically pay the major part of maintainence and repair of Federal and State highways, but some of it comes from the general fund. Local streets are paid for by local level taxes and get little from the State, at least here in Oregon. The streets in Portland are decades and hundreds of millions behind in repair, due in large to the heavy use NOT tied to consistent funding. Sam used to beat this drum regularly when he was commisioner, but not so much lately after he took so much flack for it.
The cumulative subsidy of the auto is much more than 1% of total tax load. Every parking facility, the cumulative cost of pollution has economic costs,medical costs from crashes,etc. I don't want to sound like I hate cars. They have brought possibilities and changed the way we live, and few of us want to go back to horse and buggy days. But the current model is not sustainable, and after a century of building to accomodate cars we are now looking at the need to 'unbuild' the way we have constructed our cities,suburbs,industry and such. Such changes should not come without discussion,thought and an examination of priorities, locally and nationally.

Oil is essential to our standard of living.

Accidents are part of life (a part to be learned from every time, and prosecuted when appropriate).

Offshore drilling generally spills very little oil in the scheme of things (far less than natural oil seepage from the ocean floor).

For Progressives, “A disaster is an inexcusable thing to waste.” And it is a lot easier to foist drastic policies upon us when people adopt the perspective on oil that Mary is endorsing.

Those pictures make my heart hurt.

Animals suffering at the hands of humans is the most difficult thing for me to digest...It makes me physically ill...and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. I ride the bus every day...I walk everywhere...we have one car that we drive...we recycle everything...compost, etc. I agree with Kevin; the pictures make my heart hurt.

Kevin:Those pictures make my heart hurt.

Until we begin to put as first human and other life considerations, we will continue to hurt. Economics trumping all is what got us to this point.

I mentioned in another thread about this. At meetings when one brings up that a human consideration needs to be a priority, that is easily dismissed with the clichés of wouldn’t pencil out, would be nice but, and on.

Low on the totem poll we are and what we need to value. We have been propagandized to value what brings economic benefits to others at the expense of our own beings.

This of course is only skimming on the surface of many thoughts regarding our situation. I would advocate for conversation salons for us to get our voice back.

Clinamen -

I think, by default, our rampant consumerism has placed humans quite high on the totem pole - and one could argue that is a corporate decision, not an individual one. But living in 3,000 square foot houses, filling it with goods purchased but hardly ever used, and spending our time consuming instead of living has put us at peril.

This also points to the exponentially increasing scope of both industrial production and environmental disaster we can look forward to in the coming century. The absolutely massive scale of human populations, resource consumption and the technological potential to exploit any region of the earth sets up a pretty worrisome scenario. It's looking as though the era of habitat loss and species extinction we're in will not only continue but accelerate uncontrollably.

Umpire: . . .and spending our time consuming instead of living has put us at peril.

Consuming instead of living has also prevented us from knowing who we really are.

Alan Watts, in 1966, had something to say about this in "The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are"

A brief intro here:

http://dedroidify.blogspot.com/2008/08/alan-watts-book-on-taboo-against.html

Joe Adamskli: Karlock is cherry picking his statistics to justify a point.
JK: Joe should check a few facts before opening his mouth.

Joe Adamskli: Interstates were built by the Feds, but owned and maintained by the States. Gas taxes typically pay the major part of maintainence and repair of Federal and State highways,
JK: Interstates were built with user fees.

Joe Adamskli: but some of it comes from the general fund. Local streets are paid for by local level taxes and get little from the State, at least here in Oregon.
JK: That is the 1% subsuidy I mentioned.

Joe Adamskli: The streets in Portland are decades and hundreds of millions behind in repair, due in large to the heavy use NOT tied to consistent funding.
JK: Not really. You obviously have not actually looked at a PDOT “road” projects list. When you see the details, most expenses are actually for ped, bike and transit expendetures.

Joe Adamskli: Sam used to beat this drum regularly when he was commisioner, but not so much lately after he took so much flack for it.
JK: He is the one who spent the road money on bikes, peds and transit instead of real roads.

Joe Adamskli: The cumulative subsidy of the auto is much more than 1% of total tax load.
JK: Why don’t you show us some real data, instead of just mindlessly repeating the claims of the professional car haters that so infest Portland.

You could start with ti.org/antiplanner/?p=2199 and point out Randal’s errors (which you will have to do to make your case)

Joe Adamskli: Every parking facility,
JK: Not a public subsidy. More like an advertizing expense. Further the alleged parking subsidy is tiny. See portlandfacts.com/parkingsubsidy.html

Joe Adamskli: the cumulative cost of pollution has economic costs,
JK: How do you suggest people get around? Transit uses more energy per passenger-mile than cars, so that is not an option by your criteria. Perhaps you want to dictate we all live in high density condo ghettos so we can all waste time walking or risk our lives biking to nearby crummy jobs instead of good jobs further away?

Joe Adamskli: medical costs from crashes,etc.
JK: Transit has crashes too. In fact light rail kills 2 ½ times as many people as cars per passenger-mile. See portlandfacts.com/transit/maxsafetychart.html

Joe Adamskli: I don't want to sound like I hate cars. They have brought possibilities and changed the way we live, and few of us want to go back to horse and buggy days.
JK: They are the cause of about ½ of our high standard of living by increasing our job choices through fast travel and helping employers find better employees. They save us about 50% in commute time compared to transit. (portlandfacts.com/commutetime.html ) Even in dense cities driving is faster than transit for commuters.

Joe Adamskli: But the current model is not sustainable,
JK: Prove it. 1. We are NOT running out of oil. 2. There has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1995 and the earth has been in a cooling trend since 2002, according to IPCC lead author and CRU head, Phil Jones. (news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm) 3. The population is NOT careening out of control and is scheduled to naturally (no need for draconian actions) start declining in a few decades (the population chicken littles haven’t noticed the fertility rate started dropping a half century ago because it destroys their scare stories they use for fundraising.) 4. We are not running out of natural resources, they are increasing as we learn how to mine deeper (a third dimension) 5. We are not running out of food as we continue to need less land to feed the population (although the probable coming decades of cooling climate may be a problem as growing seasons shrink.) Did I leave out any current paranoid excuse to re-order society?

Joe Adamskli: and after a century of building to accomodate cars we are now looking at the need to 'unbuild' the way we have constructed our cities,suburbs,industry and such.
JK: What need? Please substantiate this wild claim. Are we to also “unbuild” our high standard of living? Who will bear the brunt of lower living standards? How many low income people will be forced into starvation by your scheme?

Joe Adamskli: Such changes should not come without discussion,thought and an examination of priorities, locally and nationally.
JK: Yeah, right. Just like the AGW advocates are now suggesting we suspend democracy to save the world from AGW, since the discussion is failing to get the result they want.

Thanks
JK

Karlock, you should stop frothing at the mouth,its most unattactive.

joe adamski Karlock, you should stop frothing at the mouth,its most unattactive.
JK: And you should check your facts before accusing people of cherry picking.

Thanks
JK

I just wanted to pass along a link to a page that has some great information regarding the efforts to seal the leak. It's a blog by engineers in fields related to the oil industry that I think has better and more timely information than most of what I find in a Google news search.

theoildrum.com

Seeing these pictures, it is clear why BP has done everything in its power (and beyond its authority) to block reporters' access to these polluted shores. While we know that these photographs show only a tiny fraction of the devastation that has been wrought in the Gulf, they paint a vivid image of the harm -- perhaps permanent -- that has been done. Anyone who sees these images and is aware of the damage that has been done to our coasts and marine life yet still defends our offshore drilling practices is either invested in the oil and gas industry or simply doesn't care about our planet, our home.

I happened to be in New Orleans for several days just after the drilling rig sank. Even though the national media was still focused on the explosion, the sinking of the rig, and the workers who died in the explosion, and was just starting to report that oil was now gushing from the sea floor, the people of New Orleans knew what was coming. They knew that Louisiana's coastline and marine life was about to encounter a devastating, and possibly fatal, blow. They knew that their way of life and their livelihood, whether it was in the food industry or tourism (or, as is often the case in that part of the country, both), was about to suffer. Now we know that the rest of the gulf coast, and possibly the Atlantic coast, will also suffer.

There is not much that the government can do at this point to stop the continuing evolution of this disaster. Any suggestion that President Obama, Congress, government agencies, or the military could step in to stop the oil from gushing into the gulf is ludicrous. We don't know how to stop an oil gusher that is a mile underwater. We have never known. BP claimed in its application to drill that it knew how to stop this kind of a gusher, yet it was obvious that its claim was, shall we say, not 100% accurate. It's hard to believe that a multinational oil and gas corporation was dishonest with our nation and its citizens. And now our nation, the gulf shore, and its marine life are paying the price.

These days, the Republican party is doing everything in its power to convince Americans that it had nothing to do with this disaster and that they never chanted "Drill, baby, drill." They claimed that, during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, there was not a single significant oil spill in the gulf (which, by the way, was false -- almost 750,000 gallons of oil were spilled in the gulf during those hurricanes). Funny how those who continue to defend deep-sea oil drilling never mention that bold-faced lie anymore.

This disaster was entirely predictable, yet we took no serious measures to prevent it from happening. It is time to find a long-term substitute for oil and gas. We've known this for decades. President Carter committed political suicide when he made the call for a new energy policy in his unfairly-infamous, yet absolutely correct and ahead-of-its-time, "malaise" speech. He held a mirror up to the American public, and they didn't like what they saw, so they voted him out of office. Go back and read that speech sometime, and ponder whether the gulf and its marine life would be soaked in oil if we had been more forward-thinking as a nation.

Apologies for the rant -- I'm usually just a lurker, not a commenter -- but what is happening in the gulf is, in my humble opinion, one of the most outrageous events that has ever occurred that was entirely within our nation's control. This didn't have to happen, but our energy policies, particularly during the Bush/Cheney years, our politicians' lack of political fortitude, and our own nation's refusal to make a real investment in the search for an alternative fuel source made it inevitable.

Mike: This didn't have to happen, but our energy policies, particularly during the Bush/Cheney years, our politicians' lack of political fortitude, . . .
JK: Right, we should be drilling on land before the sea by opening up most of the areas that are off limits for political reasons.

Mike: . . . and our own nation's refusal to make a real investment in the search for an alternative fuel source made it inevitable.
JK: The problem is that no one knows where to look beyond nuclear and coal to liquid, both of which the greens tend to oppose. The much touted wind and solar are not 24/7, so are non starters. (The greens also oppose these!) Besides they do not replace liquid fuels.

Thanks
JK

While accidents happen, one of the biggest failures here was any kind of contingency planning. The project managers and sponsors of this drilling project bear the brunt of the blame. As part of risk analysis, they should have been looking at probability and impact of certain kinds of risks and had a fully baked plan to reduce these kinds of risks as well as a ready to implement mitigation plan for something with such a catastrophic set of impacts. However, it appears that greed outweighed sound practices both in the actions that led up to the accident and the preparedness to deal with the aftermath.

I am not a huge advocate of governmental oversight but it appears that a regulatory body with a spine and teeth should be in place to adequately review project plans at a technical level. And what has happened here as an EPIC FAIL of oversight.

There should be no more drilling until each project shows it has a viable response plan for accidents that is ready to roll on immediate notice.

Without that the costs of accidents like this will continue to be externalized to everyone (human and animal and plant life forms) and everything (fishing industry, recreation, etc.) who is touched directly or indirectly by this.

If the government fails to adequately sanction BP, it would be interesting to see a major class action torts suit brought against BP. A class action torts suit in an instance like this might be precedent setting but it's justified.

Mike: which, by the way, was false -- almost 750,000 gallons of oil were spilled in the gulf during those hurricanes
JK: Just for perspective that 750,000 gal is in a gulf of 643,000,000,000,000,000 gal.
(6.43 * 10e17 or 643 quadrillion gallons, 600,000 square miles, (995 miles x 560 miles x 1615 meters deep) per http://www.epa.gov/gmpo/about/facts.html

Thanks
JK

JK, your responses to my post illustrate the static thought process and refusal to acknowledge the stranglehold that big oil holds over our country. How can you possibly equate a "lack of fortitude" with opening our most fragile lands to drilling? Spoken like a person who believes that our energy policy is to simply drill more. Just like a junkie's life goal is to score his next fix.

No, our politicians' lack of fortitude is their unwillingness to pass a truly forward-thinking energy policy by making a real investment in the search for a replacement or alternative to oil, all while giving enormous tax breaks (over $14 billion) to big oil companies as an incentive to keep on drilling. Big oil does not have our best interests at heart, but they give the most money to politicians, so their concerns always come first. And their interests -- making astonishing profits, getting huge and unnecessary tax breaks, and not paying for the harm that they have done to our nation -- are not our citizens' interests.

And you're right that we have not found an adequate replacement for oil yet. That's all the more reason to make an honest-to-goodness investment in that search, not the half-hearted investments that have been made in the past. I am confident that a solution can be found, but only if we make a real commitment. The pessimistic, can't-do attitude that we can't find a replacement for oil is no different than somebody in the 1950's saying that it was impossible for man to go to the moon.

Finally, you owe me a computer screen for the spit-take and and huge laugh I had when you compared the oil spilled during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita with all of the water in the gulf. By that logic, the current disaster is also no big deal either. Hell, using your statistical comparison, if a trillion (!) gallons of oil were spilled into the gulf, it still would not matter since that is only a tiny fraction of a percent of the total water in the gulf. Sort of like saying that if a dog poops in your living room, that's no big deal since the mess only occupies a tiny fraction of the space in your home.

9/11 was our wake-up call to terrorism, and our nation responded (not very intelligently, but it responded). This disaster in the gulf has to be our nation's wake-up call to the folly of our energy policies. As Rachel Maddow said the other night: "You can diagnose whether we have a functioning media in this country by whether or not the country understands that this is a vile environmental megadisaster. You can diagnose whether we have a functioning political system in this country by whether or not the result of this megadisaster is change."


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Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 324
At this date last year: 176
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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