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Harrison Schmidt - Obama administration "may want BP to fail for their own ideological reasons"

In another brilliant "it's about damn time" exposition, Apollo 17 astronaut and former US Senator from New Mexico Harrison Schmidt unloads on the Obama Administration with respect to its bungling of the Deep Horizon oil spill:

The response after an oxygen tank explosion in the Apollo 13 spacecraft on its way to the Moon illustrates how complex technical accidents should be handled. It stands in sharp contrast to the Gulf fiasco. Solve the problem first; then investigate objectively; apply the lessons; and then, if absolutely necessary, worry about responsibility.

Nothing in the government's response to the blowout explosion on the Deepwater Horizon and its aftermath bears any resemblance to the response to the Apollo 13 situation by NASA and its mission control team at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.

Gene Kranz and his Apollo 13 flight controllers and engineers worked on the assumption that "failure was not an option." In contrast, President Obama and those claiming to have been on top of the Gulf oil spill situation "from day one" assumed that failure is an option and, indeed, may want BP to fail for their own ideological reasons. Whatever their motives, the president and his cabinet officers, without any experience in real-world management of anything major, much less a crisis, have no idea how to deal with a situation as technically complex as the Gulf oil spill.

It has been left to BP engineers and managers and to Gulf state officials to respond as best they can in a regulatory environment that is politically charged, incompetent, fearful, and hesitant. Rather than allowing BP to stay focused only on solving the problems of the spill, Attorney General Holder now has launched a civil and criminal investigation! And let's then follow with sending an unsupported bill to BP for $69 billion! For good measure, lets also stop offshore oil exploration by the United States. How misguided (or ignorant and devious) can our president be! (emphasis added)

Schmidt then uses the tragic 1967 Apollo 1 fire as an example of how the government should handle this kind of ordeal. Three astronauts died because an unfortunate combination of faulty wiring and an unforeseen combination of circumstances left them trapped in a space capsule filled with flammable materials in a pure oxygen atmosphere, with no emergency escape system. NASA thoroughly investigated the fire and subsequently implemented numerous engineering and safety system changes in the design of the Apollo spacecraft.

While there were those in the government who used the Apollo 1 fire to question the necessity of the moon landing program, the government generally stayed out of NASA's way during the investigation and correction phases, and only opened its own investigation after the fire had been thoroughly analyzed and engineers were fairly certain about what had gone wrong.

It is highly probable that the Deep Horizon blowout was similarly caused by one or more faulty pieces of equipment combined with a series of unforeseen events that caught engineers and managers by surprise (along with an apparently complex chain of command that broke down when critical team members were either lost or could not be reached in the panic that followed the initial explosion).

A thorough investigation of the Deep Horizon blowout must involve difficult questions that, undoubtedly, many people will not want answered: Why did so many safety systems fail? If BP was drilling at extreme water depths, why were they unprepared to handle a blowout at those depths? Why was government oversight of deep water drilling so lax? Why was the Coast Guard, which has been given primacy to act as first responder to maritime oil spills, unprepared and under-equipped to deal with the blowout? And finally, why are we drilling hundreds of miles offshore in water a mile deep, when so many offshore oil reserves that could be reached with far less risk remain under exploration bans?

Because President Obama is the most fiercely anti-business President in my lifetime (crony capitalism and Chicago-style boodle being notable exceptions) it is difficult to trust his administration with conducting an impartial investigation, and with recommending "solutions" that are in the best interests of the nation at large, rather than a shadowy conglomeration of environmental activists and would-be green energy tycoons. Let's just hope that the price we all will pay for this accident is not too great.


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Comments (84)

A liberal family member of ... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

A liberal family member of mine, knowing that I had worked off-shore on many oil platforms, asked me why "they" were not cleaning the oil off the water "out there"? I said, "I don't know, I've done it. There is a lot of equipment they could be using that's available. With BP, money is not the problem. And, it is much easier to do that, than wait until it hits the shore. Then it's much harder and does much more damage. Why don't you call your liberal Senator and your liberal congressperson or the President and ask them"? After all, they are the smartest people in the country. They seem to know what we need even before we do.

North to Alaska drilling se... (Below threshold)
914:

North to Alaska drilling seems so much cleaner lately. Of course the Alinskivite in chief inherited this mess from Cheney who set the charges shortly before leaving for the death star. Anti business = anti America growth = Barry.

You would think having some... (Below threshold)
914:

You would think having some tankers there and sucking up the oil as it comes up would be a logical thing to do. But than, nothing this administration has done has been logical. Either its by design ( for a political agenda ) or they really are as dumb as they appear or they are "BOTH".

Now that you mention it, fo... (Below threshold)
MorningRain:

Now that you mention it, for BP to fail with the help of Obama and it does appear that way with his lack of interest, nothing surprises me about Obama any more.

"Whatever their motives, th... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Whatever their motives, the president and his cabinet officers, without any experience in real-world management of anything major..."

Yep, the people 'who know everything about everything' have been reduced to a bunch of bed-wetters; sucking their thumbs and pointing fingers. More interested in Damage Control to the party brand than anything else.

"More interested in Dama... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"More interested in Damage Control to the party brand than anything else."

They realize WITHOUT the Party, they essentially have nothing. Do you think Obama would have gotten where he is today on talent and knowledge alone? If it hadn't been for the Dems, he'd likely have ended up as a marginal ESL teacher somewhere in the Chicago 'burbs.

As it is, he's been promoted way above his pay grade and his abilities. And we all get to pay the price.

Here let me save Lee Ward t... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Here let me save Lee Ward the trouble

republicans liked damage control to the party brand before a black man became president.

In typical Obama fashion, t... (Below threshold)
LiberalNitemare:

In typical Obama fashion, there are two priorities here.

1. Figure out who is to blame
(unless its Obama - in that case figure out how to blame someone else)

2. Raise taxes.

BryanD feels that this anal... (Below threshold)
retired military:

BryanD feels that this analogy is inconsequential since man has never visited the moon, it was all a big hoax.

Big article in the local ra... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Big article in the local rag this morning about the economy, foreign crisis', and oil spill. How Barry is running from one fire to another 'doing his best'. What a load of crap! Like the Obamassiah was to have nothing but 'fair winds and following seas' during his reign?

At least they explained the 'disappointing job numbers' and the UNCOUNTED unemployed no longer seeking work. Too bad they didn't continue and explain how Barry is taking a baseball bat to private enterprise every chance he gets. They have no problem going back and looking at the recoveries from past recessions, but seem to avoid how this administration is acting, as opposed to past administrations.

I guess Barry could try to ... (Below threshold)
914:

I guess Barry could try to enact Census taking jobs to permanent 40 hour a week union status to appear to have created real jobs that even Americans can do.

"Running from fire to fire, 'doin his best'."

Hahaahahahahahahahahha!

Speaking of 'foreign crisis... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Speaking of 'foreign crisis':

"Iran's Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities," Ali Shirazi, Khamenei's representative inside the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.

They do, and this will be a 'shooting war'. Wonder what's happened since January 2009, that makes the Iranians think they could get away with this?

#12Well its clear ... (Below threshold)
914:

#12

Well its clear Barry would do nothing accept blame the jews so its up to Israel to sink the terrorists fleet. This will raise unholy hell in Arabville but whats the difference? No matter what the jews do they get blamed for everthing.. Kinda like Boooooooossshhh!!!

Wow. I could get i... (Below threshold)

Wow.

I could get into the many ways that analogy is full of fail. But I'll take a different tack.

What are the things that you think Obama should have done regarding BP's oilcano, but has not?

It's isn't ana anolog -not ... (Below threshold)
Lee Ward:

It's isn't ana anolog -not even close.

While there were those in the government who used the Apollo 1 fire to question the necessity of the moon landing program, the government generally stayed out of NASA's way during the investigation and correction phases, and only opened its own investigation after the fire had been thoroughly analyzed and engineers were fairly certain about what had gone wrong.

NASA is an arm of the federal government - and the agencyinvestigating itself would be the first step - with additional independent investigation outside of NASA called for only if there was reason to be believe it was needed.

BP investigating itself is not an analog. BP is a private corporation...

but they must have a hell of a tea bag. You guys sucked right up to it.

Do they pay you to write this stuff?

Except for this. This just ... (Below threshold)

Except for this. This just blows my mind.

the government generally stayed out of NASA's way during the investigation and correction phases...

NASA **IS** a government agency.

You do realize that right?

The government didn't stay out of NASA's investigation - the government WAS NASA's investigation. All the experts in this matter were a) employed by the government, b) answerable to the government, and c) had all documents and information completely available to the rest of the government.

Whereas BP is a foreign oil company. Which means money is their motive. Which means they will not tell us the truth if it will hurt their profits, if they can possibly help it. Which is why an investigation is needed that's *outside* BP.

That's the real-world fact of how corporations operate. They aren't moral, they aren't immoral - they're amoral. They're after money - and they should be. That's what makes capitalism work.

But that's also why it needs to be balanced out by government, which should be less attached to money and more attached to the common welfare.

And the notion that investigating BP's work is going to be so onerous as to distract from capping the well holds no water either. You just don't interview the engineers capping the well. Problem solved!

I know you guys hate Obama. But you shouldn't let it distract you from reality like this.

Lee, you beat me to it. I j... (Below threshold)

Lee, you beat me to it. I just don't believe these guys some times.

Lee WardMY BOY.</p... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Lee Ward

MY BOY.

You actually posted something that didnt have the words "Black president" in it.

I am so proud.

Your post is still liberal garbage but at least it isnt race mongering liberal garbage.

"Big article in the l... (Below threshold)
John S:

"Big article in the local rag this morning about the economy, foreign crisis', and oil spill. How Barry is running from one fire to another 'doing his best'."

Toss in simultaneous nuclear wars on the Korean peninsula and the Middle East and Bambi will be very busy. Maybe he will read another speech off his teleprompter. I wonder who writes his scripts? Goldman Sachs? Bilderberg? Bill Clinton? It would be nice to know who is really in charge.

As usual Lee and Jim miss t... (Below threshold)
John S:

As usual Lee and Jim miss the point: what didn't happen in 1967 is LBJ didn't immediately ask his Attorney General William Ramsey Clark (yes, that moonbat) to start criminal proceedings while NASA was still trying to extinguish the Apollo 1 blaze. (This would be the part about the government staying out of the way of the engineers.)

I'm sure he was a peaceful ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I'm sure he was a peaceful man, just looking for a mosque to pray at. Guess this didn't qualify as 'news'.

http://www.examiner.com/x-35976-Conservative-Examiner~y2010m6d6-Media-ignore-Iranian-caught-smuggling-arsenal-of-sniper-rifles-across-border

As usual Lee and J... (Below threshold)
As usual Lee and Jim miss the point: what didn't happen in 1967 is LBJ didn't immediately ask his Attorney General William Ramsey Clark...

As usual, John S completely avoids the point even though it was already spelled out with a flaming finger:

LBJ **didn't have to** ask his attorney general to investigate NASA, because NASA is a government agency to begin with. It almost certainly won't require a subpoena to open up it's records.

BP is not a government agency, therefore it won't tell anyone anything that can hurt its profits unless it is forced to.

And also John S manages to introduce a side irrelevancy which fails -

...to start criminal proceedings while NASA was still trying to extinguish the Apollo 1 blaze.

Length of entire Apollo 1 blaze - apparently less than 15 minutes. Crew thought killed in the first 30 seconds. So even if it were necessary for the **rest of** the government to investigate NASA, it would have been impossible to do it **While the fire was being put out**.

Length of the entire Apollo 13 mission - 6 days. Length of fire that threatened the mission - about 2 hours, if you count the oxygen leak.

Length of time for BP oilcano - April 20th through today. No end in sight, 1 1/2 months and counting.

Do you see how comparing these situations is like comparing apples and orangutangs?

spelled out wit... (Below threshold)
spelled out with a flaming finger
Stop, drop and roll.
jim x and Lee,Nort... (Below threshold)

jim x and Lee,

North American, the contractor who designed and built the Apollo capsule, was given the lead in investigating the fire, with oversight by NASA.

NASA never assumed that North American acted maliciously, or deliberately conspired to cut corners in order to add to its bottom line.

After the initial investigation by North American and NASA, officials from both agencies were called before Congress and questioned specifically about the failures of the spacecraft. Congress especially wanted to know if either entity was fully aware of the defects in the original design of the Apollo capsule before the fire occurred.

After the investigation by Congress, Joe Shea, who was NASA's Apollo Program manager, had a nervous breakdown and left the department. And at the behest of NASA, North American fired its chief Apollo design engineer, Harrison Storms.

But the US Government never officially (or through insinuation) "blamed" anyone, nor did they levy taxes on the aerospace industry, nor did they shut down the manned space program, nor did they file criminal charges, nor did they bow to political pressure and introduce tons of new legislation and regulations aimed at placating (or perhaps enriching) the political allies of the majority party.

In case you haven't been paying attention, that is how Team Obama is handling this crisis.

I believe BP has the obliga... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I believe BP has the obligation to cap this well. I believe the United States has an obligation to assist in that regard as well as contain/collect this "rogue" oil by any technological means we have available because this is a major threat both environmentally and economically to our country and maybe other parts of the globe. The president can exhibit his well-honed talent for finger pointing in due time. While he is pre-occupied with his digital puppet show the failure at Deepwater Horizon as well as the response to it can be investigated. Obama can bitch slap as many oil companies over which he has this privilege. He can carbon tax his way to a sexual high if he wants. Barry likes to tell others that they have to accept the world as it is and not as they wish it to be. Fine. He needs to learn that we have an oil-based economy for the forseeable future and if he wants to outlaw drilling by US-based companies then other countries that have the means will come as close to us as permitted by law for offshore drilling and I don't know what quality control we will have over that but we will be buying oil/gas from them.

The environmentalists love ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

The environmentalists love to point at their 'carbon-free, non-polluting, energy-generating rainbow-colored unicorn flatulence machines'; aka windmills and solar arrays.

They never point at open-pit copper mines like those at Sahuarita, Az or Bingham, Ut. Nor the machines that operate there. They point at the lovely windmills (that kill birds by the thousands according to the Audubon Society) - but don't want to be reminded that many of the components of their wonder machine are made from petro-chemicals (aka OIL).

Reality is a bitch.

North American, th... (Below threshold)
North American, the contractor who designed and built the Apollo capsule, was given the lead in investigating the fire, with oversight by NASA.

Here's just some of the many things that don't map for this attempt to equate the Apollo fire and the BP oilcano:

North American designed and built the capsule to NASA's specs, and then turned it over to be operated by NASA.

This is quite a different situation than BP, who had Transocean and Halliburton build and implement many different interacting devices and systems for BP's profit - of which there are many previous examples - which BP then operated.

Because NASA was a government agency, there is also a far greater degree of transparency in how it operated equipment than there is with a foreign oil company.

Because North American was a government contractor, there is at least the expectation that if they want any future contracts they'd better make good.

None of the above applies to BP.

So to suggest that BP can be trusted to investigate itself, especially after BP has proven it can't even be trusted to operate its own systems with public safety in mind, is flatly ridiculous.

One effect that a lot of fo... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

One effect that a lot of folks probably miss, is all the lawyering-up going on right now. Here's how that works.

First off, I work for a company which makes and sells valves, although we do not have anything to do with the Deepwater Horizon project. But I know some people in the industry who have sold valves used on the rig.

Well, everybody connected with a project which has a disaster like Deepwater gets a hard look, but it's much worse this time for two reasons. First, the thing sank, so the physical evidence which could definitively say what happened is under almost a mile of seawater, which means anybody could be a legal target. Second, President Finger-Pointer has racheted up the paranoia by making sure everyone has to worry about fines or jail time. And the Unicorn-in-Chief has implied he doesn't care if the person blamed is guilty or not, just so long as he comes off looking effective.

So, this person I know does not work as an engineer and has no direct connection to Deepwater. But since their company sold valves to the rig project, everyone in the company has to provide full support for everything they've said or done. That mean IT is taking records of hard drives, email files, cell phones, blackberries, you name it they're making sure it's on record. Now, if you put a lawyer on the truck with a crew of firemen and mention - every day - that someone's going to jail, don't you think they will have a harder time doing their job?

Add to this the fact that the conditions of the Deepwater disaster are unprecedented (as in no, there's no fix in place for something like this, and no way to 'plan for it'), and you can see why BP has had such trouble moving ahead.

The environmentalists lo... (Below threshold)

The environmentalists love to point at their 'carbon-free, non-polluting, energy-generating rainbow-colored unicorn flatulence machines'; aka windmills and solar arrays.

The conservatives love to point at "drill-baby-drill", "oil will last forever / we don't need to do anything because the rapture will come anyway" magical gas-powered machines.

They never point at the fact that oil is getting harder to reach every year, while oil consumption is increasing every year, which to any rational outlook means a coming double crunch.

And they react to any attempt to point out this reality with an inexplicable rejection of said reality. They take any attempt to create alternative energy sources as an attempt to crush their freedom, even if it's not meant to replace oil - just to be in place for when our oil eventually runs out.

Which it will.

Reality is a bitch - and until conservatives can look her in the eye, she'll keep her liberal bias.

So, this person I ... (Below threshold)
So, this person I know does not work as an engineer and has no direct connection to Deepwater.

Then this anecdote doesn't really apply.

Now, if you put a lawyer on the truck with a crew of firemen and mention - every day - that someone's going to jail, don't you think they will have a harder time doing their job?

Analogy fail for a number of reasons.

- BP caused this accident, whereas firemen don't start fires and then put them out.

At least, they're not supposed to. If they were suspected of starting fires, you better believe there would be investigations of them - and there should be.

- This isn't putting out a fire - it's fixing a technical problem. All we have to do is make sure the engineers working on the problem are working on it. The rest of BP and those involved not only can handle answering questions - they should answer questions. This is because, in the real world, there can and should be consequences for catastrophic stupidity such as this accident.

Okay jim. How you going to... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Okay jim. How you going to build your carbon-free machines WITHOUT oil? How you going to transmit electrical power WITHOUT copper?

"..oil is getting harder to reach every year...."

Sure is. As long as you throw up more and more roadblocks. No drilling in the Santa Barbara channel. Walk the beaches chum. You'll find tar balls. From natural seepage.

ANWAR is 'hard to reach'? As opposed to say 'the North Slope'?

Keep ringing that bell. As the price of oil/gas goes higher and higher, along with associated products; Barry is going to have to protect you and your buddies from the pitchforks and torches.

Well said, Mr X.... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Well said, Mr X.

DING DING DING Yes... (Below threshold)
retired military:

DING DING DING

Yes we have a winner.

Jim X mentions Haliburton. Next step up is "It's all Cheney's fault".

jimx,No ones inter... (Below threshold)
Geoffrey britain:

jimx,

No ones interested in defending BP per se.

Of course they put profit first.

Of course the gov't. let them slide past regs.

Of course we're drilling in deep waters because Dems pander to environmentalists, who place environmental considerations above any other.

Of course this makes us more dependent upon foreign oil.

Of course this is going to raise prices greatly, which will be used to force the public in the direction of buying more hybrids and backing impractical alternative energy technologies.

Of course Obama knew from day one how bad this was going to be and decided to use it to advance his agenda.

It's in your willful denial regarding the Obama's administration's culpability wherein the disagreement lies.

Obviously, the Apollo 13 fire and the BP spill aren't exactly analogous but one was handled brilliantly and the other is a disaster in mismanagement.

The perception is that Obama is starting a campaign of blaming BP in order to create a scapegoat so as to deflect criticism of Obama's handling of the affair.

When the oil starts washing up on FL beaches, Obama and the Dems incompetence becomes cemented in the public's mind.

Jim, as I said the physical... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Jim, as I said the physical evidence is 5k underwater, so your assumption (emphasis on your use of ass) that BP is guilty of causing the disaster is asinine. Although typical of your Lee-like bilge.

And by the way, my father was a petrochem engineer for nearly 40 years, and I work in oil & gas for a valve company. I have a strong suspicion you lack superior experience or qualifications to speak about how to fix undersea oil leaks, not least because your style of argument reeks of Kos far more than any scientific method.

It doesn't matter what you ... (Below threshold)
Maddox:

It doesn't matter what you compare this disaster to, the Obama administration has failed to act in the government's role after the accident.
BP is without question to blame and responsible for all costs involved and must use everything possible to reduce the harm to the gulf region.
Our government has done little to stop oil from reaching shore and stands in the way of both BP and local officials to limit damage.
It is obvious they will make sure this crisis is not wasted. America sees through "the most transparent administration ever" and is appalled by what is happening in The Gulf.
This is politics and it is disgusting. Environuts should be complaining the loudest. Could it be environmental protection isn't their true goal?

'The conservatives love to ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

'The conservatives love to point at "drill-baby-drill", "oil will last forever / we don't need to do anything because the rapture will come anyway" magical gas-powered machines.'

Rapture? You're an idiot.

When ever the 'magical cure... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

When ever the 'magical cure' is discussed by jim x, bryanD, Lee Ward, et al; I'm reminded of the following (for more reasons that one):

"With the dawn of the horseless carriage, our city streets and air will once again be clean."
Tell that to LA circa 1955.

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/our-economic-past-the-great-horse-manure-crisis-of-1894/#

Coal was a wonder. Pound for pound, it displaced wood as an energy source. Until the sky was black with smoke.

We were told of the 'abundant and cheap energy' produced by nuclear generators. No one mentioned 'accidents' - accidents which have all happened while testing safety systems. Nor were we told 'there's a long term storage problem'.

Seems every new 'miracle' comes at a cost down the road. Perhaps before jumping on the 'neat, and new and just plain terrific!', we might want to stand back and THINK about possible repercussions.

jim x - "The conservati... (Below threshold)
Marc:

jim x - "The conservatives love to point at "drill-baby-drill", "oil will last forever / we don't need to do anything because the rapture will come anyway" magical gas-powered machines."

No, most point it "drill-baby-drill" as a way-station to whatever future and dominate form of energy will power the world's economy.

At best it will take 30-50 years to not only discover that energy source but switch society to it.

Over 95% of the U.S. economy is dependent on oil, specifically two engine sources diesel and turbine, to deliver goods and services to the consumer.

Without it we grind to a screeching halt. Which come to think of it, some of the enviro-whackoos wouldn't mind happening.

P.S. jim x, without oil that keyboard you abuse with written tripe would be no more.

GrandFan - "We were tol... (Below threshold)
Marc:

GrandFan - "We were told of the 'abundant and cheap energy' produced by nuclear generators."

But WAIT!

Obummer claims to be all for nuclear energy now.

Except the enviro-whackoos will never let it happen.

Not to mention the plants we have now are ALL getting close to their lifespan, meaning licenses for their use expire.

Not to mention outfits like RiverKeeper who fight tooth and nail against nuclear plants continued usage.

LA LOVES nuclear plants. A... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

LA LOVES nuclear plants. As long as they're in Arizona.

Okay jim. How you ... (Below threshold)
Okay jim. How you going to build your carbon-free machines WITHOUT oil? How you going to transmit electrical power WITHOUT copper?

What in anything I've ever said has suggested that I think we shouldn't use oil at all?

Nothing.

Please stick to the arguments I'm making, rather than the ones you think I'm making.

"..oil is getting harder to reach every year...."

Sure is. As long as you throw up more and more roadblocks.

Preventing drilling is NOT what's using up fossil fuels. What's using up fossil fuels is **our civilization**, you see.

As you have no doubt heard and ignored many times, preventing drilling in the ANWAR or Santa Barbara or anywhere else won't even affect consumption as much as raising fuel efficiency a few mpg.

Fossil fuels are finite resources. Yes or no?

If it's finite and we're going to run out of it, wouldn't make sense to get other forms of energy developed while we still have fossil fuels to help? Yes or no?

Rapture? You're an idiot... (Below threshold)

Rapture? You're an idiot.

What, you don't like me poking fun at conservative stereotypes? That's what I do when liberal stereotypes are thrown at me. Where's your sense of humor? Can't you take a joke?

Jim X mentions Haliburto... (Below threshold)

Jim X mentions Haliburton. Next step up is "It's all Cheney's fault".

It really would be great if you guys could stick to the arguments I'm actually making. Just a thought.

No, most point it "drill... (Below threshold)

No, most point it "drill-baby-drill" as a way-station to whatever future and dominate form of energy will power the world's economy.

At best it will take 30-50 years to not only discover that energy source but switch society to it.

Well look at that! We actaully agree.

If you guys could now look at people who want alternative energy as **Fellow Citizens** instead of the enemy, maybe we can actually get there.

I hope for the sake of all our children that we do.

P.S. jim x, without oil that keyboard you abuse with written tripe would be no more.

No duh. When have I ever said any different?

It really seems like you guys are projecting arguments onto me that I am not making in any way.

jim x - "If you guys co... (Below threshold)
Marc:

jim x - "If you guys could now look at people who want alternative energy as **Fellow Citizens** instead of the enemy, maybe we can actually get there."

Excuse me, what did you say in the same comment I'm quoting from?

Oh yeah something about "projecting arguments onto me that I am not making in any way."

Whatever.

Yeah we can "get there," but it damn sure isn't by spending millions on (corn based) ethanol subsidies to kiss the bung holes of corn belt sens and reps.

Geoffrey,... (Below threshold)

Geoffrey,

Of course the gov't. let them slide past regs.

There's no of course to it. Some of that probably happened - but it also appeared that BP and/or Transocean and/or others deliberately cut corners on the few regulations that were enforced.

Which is what makes them liable. WHich is why this situation needs to be investigated. Which can be done without interfering with BP fixing the problem it is ultimately responsible for, because it signed off on every single thing that was part of its operation.

Of course we're drilling in deep waters because Dems pander to environmentalists, who place environmental considerations above any other.

No, if the US was really pandering to environmentalists there wouldn't be any ocean drilling at all.

Of course this makes us more dependent upon foreign oil.

No, the amount of oil coming from drilling rigs doesn't have any affect on how much we consume. We consume 25% of the ***world's** oil. We're hooked on it, and we'd still be hooked on it if we got 3x as much from ocean drilling.

Of course this is going to raise prices greatly, which will be used to force the public in the direction of buying more hybrids and backing impractical alternative energy technologies.

YOu mean, like the ones that Europe uses to great success? I'll take that kind of impracticality any day.

Of course Obama knew from day one how bad this was going to be and decided to use it to advance his agenda.

Of course, baloney. You don't like his agenda, period. That's separate from accusing him of being some kind of master conspirator.

To paraphrase Jon Stewart, you guys are confusing tyranny with LOSING. Your guy lost the election, because the previous guy was hands down at least the worst president since Hoover. YOu don't get to set the agenda until the next election that you win again.

It's in your willful refusal to admit that BP screwed up royally and has **earned** government intervention that the disagreement lies.

Obviously, the Apollo 13 fire and the BP spill aren't exactly analogous

Exactly. Therefore it doesn't fit.

When the oil starts washing up on FL beaches, Obama and the Dems incompetence becomes cemented in the public's mind.

We'll see, won't we? BUt here's why I think you're wrong:

- Obama hasn't hindered BP's attempts to solve their own problem in any way.

- Obama hasn't hindered the gulf cleanup in any way.

- The Republican party with its ideology of deregulation is clearly at least as responsible as the Democrats for this mess, if not more so.

I have faith in the voters to see this as it is. WHo knows? I could be wrong.

Jim, as I said the... (Below threshold)
Jim, as I said the physical evidence is 5k underwater, so your assumption (emphasis on your use of ass) that BP is guilty of causing the disaster is asinine. Although typical of your Lee-like bilge.

DJ, as you know BP leased the platform, ran the operation, hired all the contractors and signed off on any equipment. Therefore BP is ultimately responsible for ANYTHING that happened.

So any ASSertion of yours that BP can't be guilty or shouldn't even be investigated is completely ASSinine.

That's the way responsibility works - the buck stops at the top.

If it turns out that Transocean, Halliburton or others violated their contracts without BP knowing or approving, then BP will be right in not claiming fault. Until that proof is in, BP is on the hook - and BP cannot be trusted to provide that proof without corroboration.

I would think this would be clear to any conservatives, who I thought at least were into accountability and people's responsibility for their actions.
Although typical of your denial bilge,

Yeah we can "get t... (Below threshold)
Yeah we can "get there," but it damn sure isn't by spending millions on (corn based) ethanol subsidies to kiss the bung holes of corn belt sens and reps.

We agree again. That shite is a scam, and ethanol costs more energy to produce than it provides in any case.

We need other solutions, because the only sure thing is that we are going to run out of fossil fuels in our lifetime. And I like being able to rant into a keyboard, as opposed to fishing in a sea wearing rags and using the town's last remaining stick.

"Jim X mentions Haliburt... (Below threshold)
914:

"Jim X mentions Haliburton. Next step up is "It's all Cheney's fault".

It really would be great if you guys could stick to the arguments I'm actually making. Just a thought."

Haliburton Chernobyl Cheney is not an argument. Its an attack and a distraction. Barrys refusal to respond to the threat of oil coming ashore is purposeful and puts the fianl nail in his political coffin.

Count on it.

"the only sure thing is tha... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"the only sure thing is that we are going to run out of fossil fuels in our lifetime."

Every time that's been said in the past, a new oil reserve has been found.

Jim X"And I like b... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Jim X

"And I like being able to rant into a keyboard, as opposed to fishing in a sea wearing rags and using the town's last remaining stick."

Which is exactly where you will be if we stop using oil within the next 40 years. That or the grave.

914 Ref Post 50</p... (Below threshold)
retired military:

914

Ref Post 50

THe last 6 threads I have commented in it was to save Lee Ward the trouble of saying "repulbicans liked X until a black president came along"

now sshhhhh Let me tell you a secret

Lee ward hasnt mentioned black President in one of those threads and thus we havent had 5 people telling Lee ward his racist rants are ridiculous. Thus we are able to stay on track more.

Notice since I mentioned Cheney noone else has except you.

Now why do you suppose that is.

Jimx, 6:04 pm comment... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Jimx, 6:04 pm comment

BP caused this accident

Jimx, 8:18 PM comment

BP is ultimately responsible

Mobile goalposts you have there. The problem with trying to change your claim, Jim, is that the first one's still in print.

And even your - ahem - revised claim that 'BP is responsible for everything', that depends on the law and what's actually in their lease and other contracts. Limit-of-Liability clauses, jurisdiction and indemnity clauses all affect the disposition of who has to do what. BP will pay a lot, but quite possibly not at all what you think or expect. In which case, you might consider thinking about who would be left to pick up the tab.

Point taken DJ. I think it ... (Below threshold)

Point taken DJ. I think it very likely that BP caused this accident. But apparently I did state this as absolute fact, which is not knowable. I should have scrolled up and checked my posts to make sure. So, you're right there, and I'm wrong.

It is not certain that BP caused this incident. But it is certain, at least to me, that they are responsible for it until they can prove that a) it was an unavoidable act of God or b) that it was someone else's error that they could not have been aware of.

Addendum - or really, I sho... (Below threshold)

Addendum - or really, I shouldn't have overstated BP as causing it in the first place, when there is as yet no thorough knowledge of the situation.

Which is exactly where y... (Below threshold)

Which is exactly where you will be if we stop using oil within the next 40 years. That or the grave.

Retired military, we will probably never stop using oil to some degree. But whether or not we have alternative energy to replace oil, we will be using oil drastically less - because either way, we will run out of it.

It is a finite fuel. It will be used up whether we have a plan to use something else, or we don't.

Oh yeah something about ... (Below threshold)

Oh yeah something about "projecting arguments onto me that I am not making in any way."

Fair enough as well. I'm happy to include you in a group of people who don't consider me the enemy because we disagree on policy.

Jim X -Looking at ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Jim X -

Looking at your post times, either you're one hell of a typist or you're using something like Dragon Dictate. I'm curious - you using speech recognition software by any chance? There's a guy out at the plant who has to use it (industrial accident, 10kv doesn't leave much below the elbows) and we've had problems with everything we've used, no matter how much training we do on the software.

Just curious - no big thing if you don't want to share your secret...

Jim X"It will be u... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Jim X

"It will be used up whether we have a plan to use something else, or we don't.'

True enough. Republicans have plans to use other energy sources.

Liberals block plans to use other energy sources.

Wind farms - Nope, distracts the view, kills birds, Messes up the desert.

Nuclear - Oh hell no. Cant have that.

Solar - Cant put 20 square miles of solar panels in the desert, the pink eyed purple toad grass hopper might be put out.

Ocean current - Nope. Interuppting the mating habits of the lavender blue seals.

Coal - Sorry too dirty, cant dig it up.

In short, environmental whackos like Al Gore think we should not even have golf carts (while he drives around in his Escalade) and you have idiots that think if you use more than one piece of toilet paper to wipe your ass than you are killing Gaia.

You are big at talking. You tell us what the solution is other than nuclear.

Oh wait, I forogt, you are a "big idea" kind of guy. Which is fucking great until you have to umm actually DO SOMETHING.


jim x wrote, "to suggest th... (Below threshold)

jim x wrote, "to suggest that BP can be trusted to investigate itself, especially after BP has proven it can't even be trusted to operate its own systems with public safety in mind, is flatly ridiculous"

No one is suggesting that BP "investigate itself", nor are we suggesting that BP shouldn't shoulder its fair share of the responsibility for cleaning up the spill.

But one point that you seem to be missing (either accidentally or deliberately) is that the Obama Administration already considers BP to be criminally liable, even though there has yet to be an investigation! Perhaps Obama is banking on the fact that since the rig fell apart and sank, we will never know exactly what happened; therefore he can make all the accusations he wants against BP because he knows that BP won't be able to provide evidence to defend itself. (By the way, if that's the Left's concept of "justice" then God help us all.)

It is completely unacceptable and unprecedented for the US government to openly insinuate that a private company is guilty of criminal negligence -- before any investigation is completed. It is also outrageous for the government to openly insinuate that BP is not doing everything it can to fix this problem, while grandstanding and pretending to be the "enforcer" responsible for getting things done (e.g. "boot on the neck" of BP).

Perhaps I would feel a little better if the President had also promised to keep his boot on the neck of NOAA and the Coast Guard, since they have primacy and first responder status with respect to offshore oil spills, yet were caught unprepared and under-equipped to deal with the initial response. He should also be keeping the administration's boot on the necks of those in charge of the government's Minerals Management Service, which is supposed to be regulating offshore oil drilling.

BP will get nailed of course, but it is doubtful that the government agencies involved will ever be held accountable -- certainly not criminally liable -- for their role in letting this disaster happen.

jim x,"That's the re... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

jim x,
"That's the real-world fact of how corporations operate. They aren't moral, they aren't immoral - they're amoral. They're after money - and they should be. That's what makes capitalism work.

But that's also why it needs to be balanced out by government, which should be less attached to money and more attached to the common welfare."

Sigh,
jim, I lifted this from one of your first entries on this post. It is one of the inherent reasons I find liberals to be inscrutable. I don't much care if you see the shortcomings of corporations/capitalism. You want to tell it like it is. Everything has its flaws. On the other hand you refuse to do the same with government. You idealize it and only present it for what it should do not what it is in reality. Notice how you say corporations 'is/are' and then you say government 'should'. Sorry that is an unfair arguement.

'We're running out of oil'.... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:
jim x "- Obama hasn't ... (Below threshold)
Marc:

jim x "- Obama hasn't hindered the gulf cleanup in any way.

- The Republican party with its ideology of deregulation is clearly at least as responsible as the Democrats for this mess, if not more so."

No, then what do you call the better than 2 week delay in allowing Jindal to place sand berms in? Hell the nitwits in charge, meaning obummer and crew, only gave him permission for one, then relented after the PR got too bad.

Ok, I'll bite, just what regs were reduced or done away with that can be placed at the feet of reps?

Be specific, I fail to comprehend libturd talking points.

Jim X"The Republic... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Jim X

"The Republican party with its ideology of deregulation is clearly at least as responsible as the Democrats for this mess, if not more so.""

NO. Becuase if republicans had their way we would be drilling in places like ANWAR or in less than 5000 FEET of water where oil spills are much more easily contained and problems are much more easily solved.

Also in addition to my last... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Also in addition to my last comment.

We would have a helluva lot MORE nuclear plants where the demand for oil wasnt nearly as great as it is today.

But hey we cant talk about facts because if we do then the dems would have to face that hard cold shock of reality.

Lets take a look at the qua... (Below threshold)
olsoljer:

Lets take a look at the qualifications of the personnel in government who are supposed to protect us from disasters such as the gulf oil spill:

Barrack Hussein Obama - POTUS
Harvard JD - LAWYER (ROFLMAO)

Ken Salazar - SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
BA Political Science

Janet Nappolitano US SECRETARY OF HOMELAND DEFENSE
JD - LAWYER

Elizabeth Birnbaum US MMS
JD Harvard - LAWYER

RA Mary Landry US COAST GUARD
MA Management, Master of Marine Affairs

The one qualified individual who could have made (and did make some) intelligent decisions was:

Lisa P. Jackson ADMINISTER OF THE EPA
MS - Chemical Engineering

What is really ironic, is that while Bush and Cheney both have degrees in other than mineral or petroleum field, the two of them have had extensive experience in the oil industry, and would have been all over this spill like a big dog.

Olsoljer - you do realize t... (Below threshold)

Olsoljer - you do realize that the relaxation of oil regulations under the Bush/Cheney administration helped make this incident possible in the first place, right?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/may/03/usa-dickcheney

Just curious - no big th... (Below threshold)

Just curious - no big thing if you don't want to share your secret...

I'm actually typing this in. : ) No Dragon dictation. I've tried it years ago on the Windows PC, but it didn't work right immediately and I didn't have the patience to train it, which you're supposed to do.

I did try it recently on the iPhone, a limited free version, and it actually worked shockingly well. So maybe it's developed enough now that it's actually viable. Can't say.

Garandfan, here's some info... (Below threshold)

Garandfan, here's some information you might want to read, that comes from those flaming Leftist environmental hippies at the Pentagon:

http://www.examiner.com/x-48928-Environmental-News-Examiner~y2010m5d25-Pentagon-Says-Oil-Shortages-Imminent

In the words of the report, "the world would need to add roughly the equivalent of Saudi Arabia's current energy production every seven years." As proponents of the concept of peak oil have been telling us for decades, this is simply not going to happen. No extended research into the arcana of the oil business is required here, merely an appeal to common sense. There is only so much oil; we have been consuming it with abandon for a hundred years; at some point, we're going to run out; and bad things are going to start happening as soon as we run short, which is to say when we find there's not enough oil to supply everyone who wants it.

Also read a good survey of the facts here:

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/18056

So to review - if a new reservoir is found the size of Saudi Arabia - OR all the new finds add up to the size of Saudi's total oil - then our eventual oil crash is delayed - **for another seven years**

This is not a partisan or ideological issue. We are running out of oil as surely as the day turns into night.

No one is suggesti... (Below threshold)
No one is suggesting that BP "investigate itself",

Well Michael, this quote of yours certainly seems to imply just that. From #24 :

North American, the contractor who designed and built the Apollo capsule, was given the lead in investigating the fire, with oversight by NASA.

However if you're not suggesting that, then kudos.

...nor are we suggesting that BP shouldn't shoulder its fair share of the responsibility for cleaning up the spill.

Glad to hear it.

BP will get nailed of course, but it is doubtful that the government agencies involved will ever be held accountable -- certainly not criminally liable -- for their role in letting this disaster happen.

Well I certainly hope that doesn't occur. But it seems unfair to blame the coast guard for this mess, since the main mess is the ongoing spill - which is something the oil industry has repeatedly promised could never happen.

Blaming the Coast Guard, seems to me kind of like blaming firemen for having a hard time putting out an unprecedented fire. But let the chips fall where they may - if they could have done better, they should face repercussions too.

Liberals block pla... (Below threshold)
Liberals block plans to use other energy sources.

Not me. All of the below you list, I approve of. I think you'll find more and more Democrats approve of them also - or Obama wouldn't have gone along with supporting clean coal, as well as new drilling in the ocean. A quote that's increasingly biting him in the butt, coming as it did a scant few weeks before BP's oilcano blowout.

"...or Obama wouldn't have ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"...or Obama wouldn't have gone along with supporting clean coal, as well as new drilling in the ocean."

Let's see; Joe Biden "NO COAL!"
Drilling in ocean; didn't SOMEONE just CANCEL all drilling on the coast?

On the other hand ... (Below threshold)
On the other hand you refuse to do the same with government. You idealize it and only present it for what it should do not what it is in reality. Notice how you say corporations 'is/are' and then you say government 'should'. Sorry that is an unfair arguement.

Short response:
- I think Corporations are easy to define and measure in terms of practical matters, such as money. Whereas governments are much harder harder to define in practical matters, and almost require some use of ideals in order to measure their success.

Long response:
I don't think I or other liberals you mention idealize government any more than conservatives do - I think the difference is just in what policies are considered worthwhile in pursuing those ideals.

I think this is just a recognition of the difference between corporations and governments as institutions.

Corporations have basically one real-world purpose which can define it's success or failure: making money.

Governments, on the other hand, have as their purposes to (at minimum, off the top of my head)

- to provide leadership and direction for a group of people

- to provide protection and order for that same group of geographically-located people

- to provide justice, or at least dispute settlement for at least some portion of that same group of people

- to provide services for at least some portion of that same group of people

In addition, Democratic governments have the stated goals of delivering things such as "justice", "equality", "liberty" - and other concepts which are absolutely vital for a healthy modern society (and economy), but which are so incredibly hard to pin down that they may never be fully defined.

Which is where things get very complicated, because the issue of what a government *should* do and how far it *should* go in doing those things can get easily disputed.

For example, just to be descriptive without taking a side, many conservatives think the government should outlaw abortions entirely, but think the government should not otherwise intervene in private matters. Many liberals think that abortion should not be outlawed, but gun possession should be. Both have a position that government intervention is worthwhile - they are just picking different circumstances according to their personal beliefs.

The idealization is in the contracts of Government themselves - in our case, the Constitution. Governments, for conservatives liberals and all others, are meant to provide not only practical items but abstract ideals like Justice and Liberty.

GarandFan, Obama did suppor... (Below threshold)

GarandFan, Obama did support new deep-sea drilling before BP's oilcano. On June 2nd, he said he'll allow continuing exploration after a 6-month moratorium.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jun2010/spil-j02.shtml

That he's put a moratorium on it now is, in my opinion, a prudent response. At least until all the current rigs can be thoroughly inspected, and specific plans can be put in place to ensure this never, ever happens again.

And GarandFan, here's the O... (Below threshold)
...after the Exxon Valdez s... (Below threshold)
SammySosa7 Author Profile Page:

...after the Exxon Valdez spill?

NADA.

jim x - "And GarandFa... (Below threshold)
Marc:

jim x - "And GarandFan, here's the Obama administration on clean coal:"

And so??????????????

Lets ignore the elephant in the room shall we?

That being obummer's stated goal of "Bankrupting Coal Fired Power Plants."

Audio is out there of him saying things like "I haven't been some coal booster" and "if they want to build [coal plants], they can, but it will bankrupt them." Not being in the mood to spoon-feed left-turds at the moment you'll have to find them

Not to mention his "energy plan" includes "sky-rocketing" the cost of electricity.

jim x "you do realize ... (Below threshold)
Marc:

jim x "you do realize that the relaxation of oil regulations under the Bush/Cheney administration helped make this incident possible in the first place, right?"


Oh WHAT a shock! You cite/provide a link to the further-est left rag in the UK as a source.

And in doing so you ignore, 1. the article cites environmental lawyer Mike Papantonio but he gives zero proof of his charges in other words speculation.. and 2. the author of the piece says "And obviously the fact that the US isn't alone in not requiring this switch indicates that there are legitimate questions about cost v. efficacy. So maybe it's just one of those things."

So... is it Bush/Chaney or something else? That article fails to offer any damn thing on the subject.

And so????????????... (Below threshold)
And so??????????????

And so that's a response to Garandfan, that pretty eliminates that argument.

Quotes of Obama saying (accurately) that he isn't a "Coal booster", or that if coal plants build some sort of plant they'll go bankrupt, doesn't in any way contradict or negate the **fact*** that he gave money for coal to create a cleaner nonpolluting version.

re: # 79 - if you don't lik... (Below threshold)

re: # 79 - if you don't like that source, then try this one:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/deepwaterhorizon/6996736.html

The focus of much of today's ire is the Mineral Management Service, an agency rocked by a 2008 inspector general's report detailing sexual relations between some of its executives and energy company representatives, drug use and conflicts of interest.

"My favorite agency," Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., says derisively. "Remember in the Bush administration, these were the guys having sex orgies, and pot parties, and weren't showing up for work."
Reversal questioned

The MMS [Mineral and Management Service] is under scrutiny for its 2003 reversal of a Clinton-era recommendation to require remote-controlled triggers for activating "blowout preventers" to shut down wells.

The article goes on to note that the MMS also decided in April of 2009 to grant a waiver to this particular drilling operation - which does make this partly Obama's responsibility. Obama should have fully reviewed all of the current policies in place, and made changes. That said, Obama was trusting that the previous administration's policy did come from people who knew what they were doing.

And the Bush/Cheney administration's decision to reverse the Clinton-era recommendation clearly means Bush and Cheney made a deliberate policy choice - one that helped make this disaster possible.

jim x "And the Bush/C... (Below threshold)
Marc:

jim x "And the Bush/Cheney administration's decision to reverse the Clinton-era recommendation clearly means Bush and Cheney made a deliberate policy choice "

And that decision was based on known facts at the time, that being remote switches are questionable, at best. Funny you ignored that stated fact in the Guardian article.

And BTW, look around, just saw an interview with T. Boone Pickens, he maintains the remote switches are still unproven to this very day.

So piss-off

And that decision ... (Below threshold)
And that decision was based on known facts at the time, that being remote switches are questionable, at best. Funny you ignored that stated fact in the Guardian article.

I didn't ignore it, it's not relevant. Even if wasn't considered necessary, the $500,000 it cost was a pittance that BP would have probably earned back on the first day.

But Bush/Cheney felt the extra possibility of safety it provided was not necessary - a Bush/Cheney reversal of the Clinton Administration policy that led directly to the BP oilcano blowout.

T. Boone Pickens is welcome to his opinion. It seems the opinions of a lot of people who aren't oilmen differ.

Cheers. : )

"... the (pretender) and hi... (Below threshold)

"... the (pretender) and his (gang), without any experience in real-world management of anything major ..."

"Anything MAJOR?"

Fair go!

None of them has managed and nor is capable of managing a night-shift at a country-town 7-Eleven or a day-shift in a Hilo cab.

"... Why was 'government oversight' ... so lax? Why was the Coast Guard ... unprepared and under-equipped to deal with the blowout? And ... why (are our oil companies' production platforms established hundreds of miles offshore, in water a mile deep, when (essentially unlimited on and close-to shore) reserves remain under exploration bans?"

Because, as this silly shambles so perfectly illuminates, government, whose seat-warmers and paper-shufflers and otherwise deservedly unemployed are dredged from its very bottom only after America's businesses, companies and corporations have fished, long-lined, seined and shrimped our nation's talent pool, is always the problem -- and is never the solution!

Even militarily, arguably, since WW-II, the last American war that could (until the Roosevelt and Truman "administration's" Soviet agents and other "Democrats" Marshall-Plan communized it) be called "won" neither "our" feral gummint nor any of the automatically and forever thereafter systemically-corrupted "contractors" and/or "suppliers" that actually assume and that play at performing its every responsibility, even recognize the existence of problems, let alone are capable of solving them.




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